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For Immediate Release
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Amnesty International Urges Senate to Pass Foreign Relations Authorization Act As Key Step Toward Reducing Violence Against Women Worldwide

Human Rights Organization Praises House of Representatives’ Passage of Legislation to Make Office for Global Women's Issues Permanent


Amnesty International today urged the Senate to act on legislation passed by the House of Representatives on Wednesday that permanently establishes a State Department office focusing on preventing epidemic levels of violence against women worldwide. The human rights organization said passage of H.R.2410, the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, will make permanent the Office for Global Women's Issues, which President Obama created by Executive Order.

Amnesty International, along with other organizations, pushed for creation of the Office for Global Women's Issues as a central piece of the International Violence Against Women Act, an unprecedented effort to raise the government's response to this worldwide threat.

The legislation will help women worldwide gain schooling, training and other services to help them support themselves and their families and to overcome the destructive forces of violence against them.

Amnesty International views the Office as a key initiative by the United States government toward preventing the violence that devastates the lives of millions of women and girls around the world every year. The United Nations Development Fund for Women estimates that around the world one woman in every three has been beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused in her lifetime.

"By creating a special office to focus on women's empowerment, President Obama recognized that violence against women is a tremendous human rights problem worldwide that destabilizes countries, impedes economic progress and prevents women from raising healthy children," said Larry Cox, Amnesty International USA executive director, "Now that the House of Representatives has passed the Foreign Relations Authorization Act with the Office for Global Women's Issues, the Senate needs to take up this legislation so that it can be signed into law by President Obama."

"At a time when there are renewed attacks on schools for girls in Afghanistan in order to prevent girls from getting an education, when women in Congo and Darfur are subjected to sexual violence on a massive scale, we need to focus on relevant ways to prevent the violence and help empower women," said Cox.

Amnesty International is a Nobel Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 2.2 million supporters, activists and volunteers in over 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.

Amnesty International is a global movement of millions of people demanding human rights for all people - no matter who they are or where they are. We are the world's largest grassroots human rights organization.

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