Letter to Secretary of State John Kerry - Urge UN Members to Renounce Statements Made Against Women by Muslim Brotherhood

Today, U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Mark Begich (D-AK), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), Al Franken (D-MN), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), and Maria Cantwell (D-WA) sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry asking him to urge Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi and other members of the United Nations to renounce the statements made against women by the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist movement in Egypt. Recently, the political arm of the organization issued a statement denouncing legal rights and basic equality for women.

"The recent Muslim Brotherhood denunciation of legal rights for women, including inheritance rights and the right to file legal complaints against their husbands for rape, was repugnant and contrary to the leadership Egypt has traditionally shown in the advancement of human rights. We should be steadfast in our condemnation of those that attempt to justify or prevaricate over any form of violence against women," the senators wrote.

The senators continued, "We respectfully urge you to call on fellow members of the United Nations to renounce these offensive statements and continue your efforts to make women's rights a global priority, especially when working with our allies in the Middle East."

The senators also urged Kerry to encourage President Morsi of Egypt to renounce the Muslim Brotherhood's statements.

"Please encourage President Morsi to rebuke those who dishonor women by denigrating their status in Egyptian society and reaffirm the statement of his Deputy Prime Minister that women stand as equals in Egypt calling for "freedom, dignity, democracy and justice," and urge President Morsi to ensure that the Egyptian Government will continue its efforts to strengthen the legal protection of women," the senators wrote.

Full text of the letter is below.

March 19, 2013

The Honorable John F. Kerry
Secretary of State
United States Department of State
2201 C Street Northwest
Washington, D.C. 20520

Dear Secretary Kerry:

We write to applaud the position of the United States at the 57th session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women and affirm our commitment to prioritizing the elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women. While the world has come together around this shared goal, we are deeply troubled by the recent statement by the Muslim Brotherhood opposing basic universal rights for women. We respectfully urge you to call on fellow members of the United Nations to renounce these offensive statements and continue your efforts to make women's rights a global priority, especially when working with our allies in the Middle East.

The recent Muslim Brotherhood denunciation of legal rights for women, including inheritance rights and the right to file legal complaints against their husbands for rape, was repugnant and contrary to the leadership Egypt has traditionally shown in the advancement of human rights. We should be steadfast in our condemnation of those that attempt to justify or prevaricate over any form of violence against women. As Ambassador Rice made clear in her remarks, "ending this global scourge will require comprehensive support services for survivors, justice for perpetrators, redoubled efforts to prevent assault, and the common recognition that women and girls have fundamental and inalienable rights, including making their own reproductive health choices."

Please encourage President Morsi to rebuke those who dishonor women by denigrating their status in Egyptian society and reaffirm the statement of his Deputy Prime Minister that women stand as equals in Egypt calling for "freedom, dignity, democracy and justice," and urge President Morsi to ensure that the Egyptian Government will continue its efforts to strengthen the legal protection of women.

We know that we can count on you to continue the hard fought progress made in advancing the status of women. We look forward to working with you on these important issues.

Sincerely,

Richard Blumenthal
United States Senate

Kirsten E. Gillibrand
United States Senate

Mark Begich
United States Senate

Mazie Hirono
United States Senate

Ben Cardin
United States Senate

Susan Collins
United States Senate

Tim Kaine
United States Senate

Frank Lautenberg
United States Senate

Al Franken
United States Senate

Barbara Mikulski
United States Senate

Chris Murphy
United States Senate

Elizabeth Warren
United States Senate

Charles Schumer
United States Senate

Maria Cantwell
United States Senate