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Long-delayed measures to address violence against women take center stage at Senate subcommittee hearing

In cooperation with more than 70 partner organizations, Tahirih Justice Center urged Congress on Tuesday to pass the International Violence Against Women Act (I-VAWA) and ratify the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), two key tools to protect women and girls around the world from gender-based violence.

“These tools will give the United States greater clout to urge other countries to take all necessary steps to combat discrimination and violence against women and girls,” reads a joint statement from the partner organizations.

The joint call to action was delivered as part of a hearing, “Combating Violence and Discrimination Against Women: A Global Call to Action,” which highlighted the stories of women and girls from around the world who have suffered from gender-based violence. Senators retold the stories of women and girls like Tahirih client Muna whose life was turned upside down in Yemen at age 13 when her family tried to force her to marry a 50-year-old.

The bipartisan I-VAWA, introduced in May 2014 by Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., would mobilize a comprehensive U.S. response to end global violence against women and girls, making efforts to prevent and respond to gender-based violence a part of foreign assistance programs, among other measures.

CEDAW offers countries a practical blueprint to achieve progress for women and girls by calling on each ratifying country to overcome barriers to discrimination. The United States is one of only seven countries in the world that has not ratified CEDAW, along with Iran, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Palau, and Tonga.

“Violence against women and girls is a threat to the health, security, and well-being of every one of us, in the United States and around the world,” said Tahirih Director of Public Policy Archi Pyati. “I-VAWA and CEDAW are carefully crafted measures that will help Tahirih and our partners around the world to fight for the safety and dignity of women and girls everywhere.”

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