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Dear President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton - You Can Change the Path for Girls Suffering FGM

Dear President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton -

This situation is ongoing and calls for your immediate attention.

Immigrant girls, and women, inside the U.S. are now suffering from cultural traditions that cause them to face immeasurable harm from secret acts of FGM - female genital mutilation; acts that they face as they are sent to overseas FGM accepting communities.

Leaders from forty-two countries are now calling upon the United Nations to ban the worldwide practice of FGM.

The Population Reference Bureau reports that 100 million to 140 million women and girls worldwide have gone through this disabling, demeaning and extremely painful procedure. The World Health Organization acknowledges that FGM causes, "severe bleeding and problems urinating, and later, potential childbirth complications and newborn deaths."

FGM cutting is now internationally recognized as a violation of the human rights of girls and women. Any act, including transport, that brings girl children and/or women to experience FGM in a region outside the U.S., is also a violation of human rights.

While laws inside the United States have tried to make the practice of FGM/cutting completely illegal the law is falling too short (the 1996 IIRIRA - Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act, as well as additional extended laws preventing FGM activities in seventeen U.S. states). Children and women who live inside the U.S., with families from thirty-three plus nations who accept the practice, continue to face increasing and ongoing dangers as they are being sent overseas to receive the procedure.

In New York city alone, advocacy organization, Sanctuary for Families, has served "hundreds of African women and girls each year", most of whom are either living with the physical and psychological consequences of FGM, or facing a threat of undergoing the procedure in the future. Attorneys and social workers on the staff of Sanctuary for Families are well aware the ongoing realities of the situation are dire as they cause real suffering and human rights abuses.

The public concern in the transport of girl children and young women who are pressured by their families to undergo the procedure is now increasing inside the United States.

"FGM has no health benefits, and it harms girls and women in many ways. It involves removing and damaging healthy and normal female genital tissue, and interferes with the natural functions of girls' and women's bodies," said the World Health Organization in February 2010.

We ask that the Office of the White House, in partnership with the Office of U.S. Department of State, help assist to pass the current U.S. bill H.R.5137 - Girls Protection Act of 2010 that will specifically address the transport of girl children and women who are being taken to regions outside the U.S. as they are coerced and/or forced to submit to the grueling procedures of female genital mutilation and cutting.

To view the U.S. bill H.R. 5137 as it is now stated in the Library of Congress:

Thank you for your consideration, action and close partnership in this matter,
- Lys Anzia, with the staff for Women News Network - WNN

Please join the PulseWire community in speaking out against violence and urging the U.S. government to pass the International Violence Against Women Act (I-VAWA). Write your letter in your PulseWire journal to share your personal and observed experience in gender-based violence, both in your life and within your community. Tag your journal "IVAWA", and World Pulse will send your letter directly to President Obama, along with letters from women around the world. Learn more:


jadefrank's picture

IVAWA update

Dearest Lys and staff at WNN,

Thank you for participating in the IVAWA letter writing campaign and for sharing your voice and your personal testimony with President Obama, Secretary Clinton, and members of the US Senate on the urgency of ending violence against women.

We sent copies of your letter in packages, along with your fellow PulseWire members', to these key decision makers, and I am excited to announce that on December 15, the International Violence Against Women Act was approved by the Foreign Relations Committee! Our voices were effective in supporting this bill!

Next step for the bill: Get passed by the Senate and House by the end of the year. I will keep you updated!

In friendship and solidarity,
Jade Frank

Online Community Manager
World Pulse

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