Amnesty International Press Release
For Immediate Release
Saturday, April 30, 2011

Amnesty International Says Assault on CBS News Correspondent in Egypt Spotlights Need for United States to Continue Programs to Fight Violence Against Women Abroad

Contact: Suzanne Trimel, 212-633-4150, [email protected]

(Washington DC) — The sexual assault that CBS News correspondent Lara Logan said she experienced while covering the uprising in Egypt spotlights the critical need for the United States to continue global efforts to fight sexual violence against women, Amnesty International said today, urging full funding for the International Affairs Budget, which is under threat of devastating cuts.

Representing little more than one percent of the entire U.S. federal budget, the International Affairs Budget provides crucial resources for development and programs that promote human rights abroad, including critical initiatives that empower women and prevent sexual assault and violence against women and girls.

"Any cuts would cripple vital programs that aim to prevent or reduce the terrible violence that is a fact of life for far too many women and girls around the world," said Cristina Finch, Amnesty International Government Relations Director in Washington. "Continued investment in women's empowerment is not only the right thing to do but is critical to U.S. national interests abroad."
Both the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development are being threatened with significant cuts that would critically undermine programs — such as women's political participation initiatives and efforts to end gender-based violence in the Middle East — that support the principles of equality and human rights, development and diplomacy that help to achieve U.S. interests abroad.

Echoing messages by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has called violence against women worldwide "a threat to the common security of our world and to the national security of our country."

Logan was in Cairo's Tahir Square preparing a report for the 60 Minutes program on Feb. 11 when she said she was assaulted by a mob of 200 to 300 men. She spoke out for the first time in an article published Friday in The New York Times. She is expected to speak at length about the assault on Sunday night on the 60 Minutes program.

Logan told The Times:"When women are harassed and subjected to this [level of harassment and abuse] in society, they're denied an equal place in that society. Public spaces don't belong to them. Men control it. It reaffirms the oppressive role of men in the society."