Amnesty International Urges Congress to Fully Protect All Women Under Violence Against Women Act With House Passage of “Disappointing” Bill

Press Release
May 16, 2012

Amnesty International Urges Congress to Fully Protect All Women Under Violence Against Women Act With House Passage of “Disappointing” Bill

Contact: Suzanne Trimel, strimel@aiusa.org, 212-633-4150

(Washington) – Frank Jannuzi, head of Amnesty International's Washington D.C. office, made the following comments today, in response to the U.S. House of Representatives vote on H.R. 4970, the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2012, which omits several critical provisions that were included in the Senate-passed version of the bill.

"This vote is a devastating blow to legal protections for all women. H.R. 4970, as it currently stands, fails to protect some of the most vulnerable sectors of our society: immigrant women, LGBT individuals, Native American and Alaska Native women who fall victim to domestic violence and sexual assault. The House bill removes existing protections and severely limits access to essential resources provided for under the Senate-approved bill. In fact, in comparison with existing law, the House version represents a retreat for women's rights.

"The facts are grim. Murder is the third leading cause of death for Native women, and Native American and Alaskan Native women are two-and-a-half times more likely to be raped or sexually assaulted than other women in the United States. These unfortunate statistics demonstrate the need for a more comprehensive piece of legislation that would guarantee the protection of all women. It is imperative that Congress passes a bill that protects all women.”

Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 3 million supporters, activists and volunteers in more than 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.