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Global Aids Alliance Celebrates the Introduction of the International Violence Against Women Act, Urges Swift Passage
Date:2/4/2010

WASHINGTON, Feb. 4 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Global AIDS Alliance (GAA) commends the bi-partisan congressional leadership that it has taken to introduce the International Violence Against Women Act (I-VAWA) today. Violence against women has a major impact on the ability of women and girls to access healthcare globally. I-VAWA provides an essential tool in the United States foreign assistance approach, one that will address an insidious and pervasive challenge to the ability of women and girls to become healthy, productive members of their communities.

We want to thank Senators Kerry (D-MA), Boxer (D-CA), Snowe (R-ME), and Collins (R-ME) and Chairman Delahunt (D-MA), Congressman Poe (R-TX), and Congresswoman Schakowsky (D-IL) for their extraordinary work on behalf of women around the world. This legislation has been introduced in previous years without congressional action; therefore, GAA urges strong majority and committee leadership to ensure consideration and passage this year.

"Violence against women and girls is a human rights abuse that transcends national boundaries and has a profound impact on the education, health, and well-being of women and girls, particularly their ability to negotiate safe sex and seek health services or information, including HIV testing, treatment, and care," said Dr. Paul Zeitz, Executive Director of GAA and a physician with experience working with people living with HIV/AIDS in Africa, India, and South America. "The commitment that I-VAWA makes to prevent and respond to violence against women and girls worldwide is a step toward gender equality; it signals that combating violence is key to effective foreign policy and expresses U.S. moral leadership. We call on the 111th Congress to enact I-VAWA because we cannot wait another year to make this a reality."

I-VAWA makes preventing and responding to violence against women and girls a priority in U.S. foreign policy by addressing violence through a multi-sectoral lens—linking the response to violence with other foreign assistance programs, such as development assistance, humanitarian aid, global health, and peacekeeping. Given that women who are abused are at greater risk of acquiring HIV, the connection between I-VAWA and the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) is especially significant, because it allows for scale-up of coordinated, integrated programs that expand supports and services for survivors of violence.

"Violence is both a cause and a consequence of HIV/AIDS. Unless we address global violence against women and girls, our multi-billion dollar fight against AIDS is sure to fail," noted Lisa Schechtman, Policy Director of GAA.

RESOURCES:

I-VAWA Fact Sheet

Scaling Up for Zero Tolerance (GAA Report, 2008)

GAA Statement for the Record for October 1 Senate Hearing

GAA Statement for the Record for October 21 House Hearing

SOURCE Global AIDS Alliance

RELATED LINKS
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SOURCE Global AIDS Alliance
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