• Press Release

Wednesday: Amnesty Women’s Human Rights Program Head to Testify at Hearing on Ending Violence Against Women and Girls

November 18, 2013

At Hearing and Rally, Advocates and Students to Urge Immediate Congressional Action

Contact: Samantha Friedman, West End Strategy Team, [email protected] Office: (202) 776-7700; Cell: (202) 215-9260

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A shocking one in three women worldwide will experience physical or sexual violence during their lives, according to the World Health Organization.

Activists will take to Capitol Hill this Wednesday to urge Congressional action as a key Congressional body examines the issue of violence against women and girls.

Amnesty International USA's Managing Director for Women's Human Rights, Cristina Finch, will deliver testimony Wednesday at the Tom Lantos Commission on Human Rights Hearing on Gender-Based Violence. Finch is also an adjunct law professor at George Mason University School of Law. She served as AIUSA's interim managing director of government relations from March through September of 2010 and as the government relations director for the Demand Dignity Campaign. Finch focuses her work at AIUSA on women's and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) human rights; economic, social and cultural rights; and multilateral issues.

"Living free from violence is a human right, yet one-in-three women will experience violence in her lifetime," said Cristina Finch, Managing Director of Amnesty International USA’s Women’s Human Rights Program. "Congress has the opportunity to show its commitment to women and girls and help make the one-in-three become none-in-three by supporting and passing the International Violence Against Women Act."

Additional details on Wednesday's events follow below. Press is invited and encouraged to cover. To RSVP and schedule interviews, please contact Samantha Friedman at [email protected].

WHAT: Tom Lantos Commission on Human Rights Hearing on Gender-Based Violence

WHEN: Wednesday, November 20 at 2:30 p.m. ET

WHERE: 2175 Rayburn HOB

WHO: The commission will hear testimony from:

  • Cristina Finch, Managing Director, Women's Human Rights Program, Amnesty International USA – testimony will be available upon request
  • Catherine Russell, Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues, Department of State
  • Guerda Lexima-Constant, Executive Director, Fondayson Limyé Lavi (Haiti)
  • Ravi Kant, President, Shakti Vahini (India)
  • Carla Koppell, Chief Strategy Officer, USAID
  • Francisca Vigaud-Walsh, Senior Policy and Advocacy Officer, Women's Protection and Empowerment Unit, International Rescue Committee (IRC)

Despite the horrific attacks on women and girls in Kenya, Syria, Egypt, India and Pakistan that have recently captured the world's attention, Congress has yet to pass comprehensive legislation to help prevent and reduce common forms of violence against women and girls globally.

In advance of Wednesday’s hearing, the Tom Lantos Commission on Human Rights will host a reception and an International Rescue Committee photography exhibition from the Democratic Republic of Congo, “Vision Not Victim,” at 10 a.m. in the Rayburn House Office Building foyer.

Building on the momentum, MTV star Tanisha Long and local university women will rally on Thursday, November 21, at 1 p.m. in Upper Senate Park to urge strong Congressional action. Policy experts will be available to speak with press about the prevalence of gender-based violence, and strategies the United States should take to address such violence.

Additional key women's and human rights advocates are calling for action.

Ritu Sharma, Co-Founder and President of Women Thrive Worldwide:

"There is tremendous momentum around the world right now for urgent action to stop assaults on women. Almost every day we hear about protests in Kenya, India, Afghanistan and elsewhere. Congress has come together before to support preventing violence against women, and members' action is needed now more than ever."

Esta Soler, Founder and President of Futures Without Violence:

"Violence against women is a worldwide problem that knows no cultural, national, or ethnic boundaries. We're proud to partner with other like-minded leaders to help shed light on this important issue and ensure it's at the center of U.S. foreign policy."

Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 3 million members 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.