06 May 2008

on violence against women in war zones...

the following letter to the editor appeared in the ny times about 7-8 weeks back -- it supports the international violence against women act and was written by a staff person at amnesty international...check it -- peace out <3>

To the Editor:

Re ''Limbo for U.S. Women Reporting Iraq Assaults'' (front page, Feb. 13):

Contractors working for the United States in Iraq and Afghanistan are getting what amounts to a get-out-of-jail-free card for crimes, including murders and rapes. Congress can help correct this injustice by passing two groundbreaking bills.

Legislation to update the Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act clarifies United States jurisdiction to prosecute contractors, establishes an F.B.I. unit to investigate alleged crimes by contractors and requires the Justice Department to report on cases referred to it.

The bill passed overwhelmingly in the House; now the Senate needs to act.

The International Violence Against Women Act, introduced in the Senate by Senators Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Richard G. Lugar, would require training for contractors overseas in combating violence against women and would improve the reporting and complaint processes for these crimes.

If passed, these bills would create hope that justice can be served for women like Jamie Leigh Jones and Mary Beth Kineston, who were assaulted in Iraq.

Erica Razook
New York, Feb. 14, 2008

The writer is with the business and human rights program, Amnesty International USA.

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