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Calling on the President and International Community to Take Immediate Steps to Respond to and Prevent Rape and Sexual Violence Against Women and Girl

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Location: Washington, DC


CALLING ON THE PRESIDENT AND INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY TO TAKE IMMEDIATE STEPS TO RESPOND TO AND PREVENT RAPE AND SEXUAL VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND GIRLS IN DARFUR, SUDAN, EASTERN CHAD AND CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC -- (House of Representatives - October 29, 2007)

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Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

I rise in support of the resolution by my good friend, Ms. DeLauro, H. Resolution 726, which calls on the international community to take immediate steps to respond to and to halt acts of rape and sexual violence, all of which are occurring in Darfur, eastern Chad, and the Central African Republic.

I would like to thank the chairman of our committee, Mr. Lantos; and, of course, the lead sponsor, my friend Ms. DeLauro for their flexibility in accommodating concerns raised prior to the introduction and then during the committee consideration with regard to nonessential health issues and the International Criminal Court.

With those issues addressed in the amendment before us, we now have a strong resolution that effectively focuses much-needed attention on the

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horrific reality that has befallen women and young girls in Darfur without contradicting our U.S. policy.

Since the beginning of this conflict, Mr. Speaker, Sudanese Armed Forces, janjaweed militias, and other rebel factions have used rape as a weapon of war. Despite the conclusions of the Darfur Peace Agreement and the deployment of peacekeepers, these attacks have continued unabated.

The pattern of rape and sexual violence is widespread and systematic, and it seems that no one is spared. Elderly women, pregnant mothers, even girls as young as 10 years of age have fallen victim to the rapist thugs who attack with immunity. This is a horrific practice that must be condemned in the strongest possible terms.

I fully support efforts to provide essential health and psychosocial services to these women and girls as well as efforts to hold those responsible for such attacks accountable for their actions. I strongly support this resolution.

Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.

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