Shaheen, Ayotte, Klobuchar, and Collins Introduce #FreeThe20 Resolution with All 20 Women Senators

Bipartisan Resolution Calls for Release of Women Political Prisoners Around the World

September 22, 2015

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and Susan Collins (R-ME) today introduced the bipartisan #FreeThe20 resolution with all 20 women senators to support the empowerment of women and urge countries to release women held unjustly.  Earlier this month, US Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power launched a U.S. government-wide #FreeThe20 campaign, urging governments around the world to release female political prisoners.

The Senators’ bipartisan resolution, which was introduced today, supports this effort to highlight the cases of women prisoners held unjustly around the world.

“As 20 women serving in the United States Senate we stand unified in calling on governments to recognize the universal human rights of women and to release women who have been imprisoned unjustly for exercising those rights.  Our message is simple – world leaders and foreign governments, including those attending the U.N.-hosted meeting this month, should empower women, not imprison them,” said the Senators.

In 1995, representatives from 189 governments and thousands of organizations met in Beijing at the Fourth World Conference on Women and produced the Beijing Declaration and the Platform for Action in order to advance gender equality and women’s rights.  Twenty years later, on September 27, the United Nations will host the “Global Leaders’ Meeting on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment:  A Commitment to Action” in New York City.  Yet, many of the governments attending this meeting are holding women unjustly.  

Last weekend, Ta Phong Tan, who was among the first Vietnamese bloggers to write and comment on political news events and whose release was called for as part of this campaign, was released.

The full text of the resolution can be found here. Additional information about the #FreeThe20 campaign can be found here: http://www.humanrights.gov/freethe20/