Capitol Screening of It’s a Girl Shines Spotlight on Pressing Human Rights Issue
Attempted Delivery of Two Hundred Thousand Petitions Calling on China to End Gendercide
WASHINGTON – April 25, 2013 – A bipartisan trio of Congressmen joined together with a nonpartisan coalition of organizations from across the political spectrum this week on Capitol Hill to help raise awareness of the fact that the three deadliest words in the world today are “it’s a girl.”
In India, China and many other parts of the world today girls are killed, aborted and abandoned simply because they are girls. The United Nations estimates as many as 200 million girls are missing in the world today because of this so-called “gendercide” – the deliberate extermination of girls simply because they are girls.
As part of the effort to help bring attention to this war against girls worldwide, Congressmen Chris Smith (R-NJ), Jim Moran (D-VA), and Mark Meadows (R-NC) joined with the Coalition Against Gendercide to host a special Capitol screening of It’s A Girl, a powerful and thought-provoking documentary film. It’s A Girl was shot on location in India and China and reveals the issue of gendercide by exploring the stories of the victims, families, global experts and grassroots activists.
Gendercide “is a crime against women, a gender crime that has no parallel or precedent in all of human history,” said Congressman Smith, who chairs the House International Relations Africa, Global Human Rights and International Operations Subcommittee and Co-Chairs the Congressional-Executive Commission on China. “This film will awaken many to these atrocities and will hopefully call forth men and women of goodwill in every country of the world.”
“In the early years of this country slavery was excused by many as… a cultural thing. It wasn’t cultural, it was wrong. Similarly [gendercide] is not cultural, this is criminal,” added Congressman Moran, a senior Democrat on the powerful House Appropriations Committee. “The extent to which we stand by on the sidelines and don’t do anything about it makes us culpable as well. Today, what this country and this world needs to be about is ending gendercide because it is…inexcusable.”
Gendercide “has led to horrifying increases in human trafficking, sexual slavery and gang rapes,” said Congressman Meadows, a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, pointing to the recent headlines and international outrage about the rape and torture of a 5-year old girl in New Delhi. “We talk about wanting to find more common ground in Washington DC. And this is an issue where Democrats and Republicans can absolutely agree. Gendercide must be stopped.”
“The statistics are staggering in India. The Indian Crime Records Bureau reports that the rapes of children, which can ultimately of course lead to death, have increased 336% in India in the past 10 years,” noted Jill McElya, Vice President of the Invisible Girl Project, a partner in the Coalition Against Gendercide active in India. The recent New Delhi horror, on the heels of the gang rape of a 23-year old woman that raised national and international outrage a few months ago “illustrates the problem that is going on in India. The laws are there to protect women but the laws must be enforced. Corruption must be stopped. People must be taught that girls are every bit as valuable because they are human beings.”
“This is truly an issue about which the left and right can agree. No one supports forced abortion because it’s not a choice,” said Reggie Littlejohn, President of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers, a partner in the Coalition Against Gendercide active in helping women in China. “Together, China and India comprise one third of the world’s population. That one third of the world’s women are deprived of the right to bear girls is the biggest women’s rights issue on earth.”
“Gendercide cannot be lumped into simply an issue about abortion. It’s broader than that. This is about violence against women, discrimination against women and it really is an area of tremendous common ground,” said Andrew Brown, the producer of It’s A Girl. “That is something we are committed to as filmmakers as we screen this film around the world, at the British Parliament, the European Parliament, the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, and here in Washington this week. We call on the leaders here in the U.S. and those around the world to take meaningful action against this extreme injustice.”
In the wake of the Capitol screening of It’s A Girl Tuesday evening, Wednesday Congressman Smith joined with Littlejohn and other members of the Coalition Against Gendercide at the Capitol to highlight the more than two hundred thousand petitions signed by people around the world through the Causes platform demanding that China end forced abortion and sterilization under the One Child Policy, and take action against gendercide. Smith, Littlejohn and the Director of It’s A Girl – Evan Grae Davis – then attempted to deliver the petitions to the Chinese Embassy in Washington, but the embassy staff refused to open the doors to accept them.
“Thank you to the Coalition Against Gendercide for shining a spotlight on this critical issue. Thank you to the makers of the It’s A Girl film for bringing the stories of women suffering and dying in India and China to the notice of the world. Thank you for helping to collect these petitions with over 200,000 signatures to end gendercide and forced abortions in China,” Congressman Smith said at the Wednesday Press Conference in front of the Capitol, adding that thankfully, some organizations are making a difference. “The “Save a Girl” Campaign by Women’s Rights Without Frontiers, and the Invisible Girl Project are saving the lives of girls in China and India.”
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The Coalition Against Gendercide includes Women’s Rights Without Frontiers, Invisible Girl Project, the YWCA, The Heritage Foundation, The Jubilee Campaign, CWA, One Million Bones, Darfur Women Action Group, UPstander International, The Enough Project, Raise Hope for Congo, and STAND: The student-led movement to end mass atrocities.
For more information on the film: www.ItsaGirlMovie.com