Sunday, June 22, 2008

Violence Against Women and Girls Recognized as a Threat to Nations' Security

On Friday, June 20, the UN Security Council approved a resolution (UNSCR 1820) that demands warring governments and factions act to halt violence against women and girls. U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who chaired part of the Security Council session, said the world had now recognized that such violence was a threat to nations' security.

"This world body now acknowledges that sexual violence [against women and girls] in conflict zones is indeed a security concern," Rice said. "We affirm that sexual violence profoundly affects not only the health and safety of women but the economic and social stability of their nations."

Violence against women and girls reinforces social and economic barriers that drive poverty -- having experienced sexual violence, women and girls are further marginalized by their communities, are unable to work, complete their education and are put at risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases like HIV/AIDS.

The U.S. Congress is currently considering legislation that would take a more integrated and proactive approach in combating violence against women -- the International Violence Against Women Act. Call your Senators and Representative to urge their co-sponsorship of S. 2279 (introduced by Senators Biden and Lugar) and H.R. 5927 (introduced by Rep. Berman) and their support it when it comes to a vote.

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