Equality Now, FGM Survivor/Activist Jaha & Representatives Crowley & Jackson-Lee Call on Administration to Protect U.S. Girls from Harmful Practice

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CONTACT:  Brendan Wynne / Karen Asare
                    Equality Now
                    +44 7593 300 794 / 212-586-0906

Crowley and Jackson-Lee to Announce a Bipartisan Letter to the Administration Calling for a Comprehensive Strategy to Address FGM

WHATWashington, D.C. - Female genital mutilation (FGM) survivor and activist Jaha, Equality Now, U.S. Representatives Joe Crowley (D-NY) and Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX) will call on the Administration to develop a comprehensive cross-agency strategy to better protect American girls from the harmful practice in a press roundtable on WEDNESDAY, JUNE 11 at 2:30 p.m.

The call for action comes at the start of what is known as the “vacation cutting season,” when American girls are taken out of the country to undergo FGM over their summer break from school. According to one estimate, nearly 70,000 women and girls in the U.S. are in danger of being subjected to FGM.

WHO:      Rep. Joe Crowley
                Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee
                Jaha, FGM survivor and activist
                Shelby Quast, Senior Policy Advisor, Equality Now

WHERE:  Longworth House Office Building
                Room 1732 (7th floor)
                Washington, D.C.

WHEN:    Wednesday, June 11

WHY:      The federal law addressing FGM in the U.S. is 18 U.S. Code § 116 ‘Female Genital Mutilation.’ This law makes it illegal to perform FGM in the U.S. or knowingly transport a girl out of the U.S. for purposes of inflicting FGM. Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, Nevada and New Jersey currently have these “vacation provisions” as part of their state laws prohibiting FGM.

“The US is now in a position to show true leadership on this issue both nationally and internationally by developing and implementing a comprehensive national action plan to end FGM.  It is imperative that we put girls and women center stage in the post 2015 framework and accelerate an end to not only FGM, but all forms of violence and harmful practices affecting women and girls in the US and globally.”- Shelby Quast, Equality Now

Jaha started a petition calling on President Obama to update the extremely dated prevalence statistics of girls and women subjected to and at risk of FGM in the U.S.; to develop a comprehensive strategic plan to end it; and, to provide services to those that have already been subjected to this human rights violation. The petition is nearing 200,000 signatures.

RSVP: Brendan Wynne, press@equalitynow.org

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Founded in 1992, Equality Now is an international human rights organization that works to protect and promote the rights of women and girls around the world in the areas of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), Discrimination in Law, Sexual Violence, and Trafficking. Equality Now combines grassroots activism with international, regional and national legal advocacy to achieve legal and systemic change to benefit women and girls, and works to ensure that governments enact and enforce laws and policies that uphold their rights.  The organization’s Equality Action Network is comprised of groups and individuals in more than 190 countries. www.equalitynow.org.

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