Mr. SIRES. Madam Speaker, I yield myself as much time as I may consume.
Madam Speaker, I rise in strong support of this resolution. I want to thank our colleague, Congresswoman Hilda Solis, the sponsor of this resolution, as well as original cosponsors, the Chair and the ranking member of the Western Hemisphere Subcommittee, Eliot Engel and Dan Burton, for bringing this issue to us.
This important resolution raises awareness of the increasing number of women and girls who have been brutally murdered in Guatemala. Since 2001, more than 2,000 women and girls have been killed in Guatemala, and the murder rate of women has increased sharply, more so than the rate for men.
Many of these murders are preceded by mutilation or sexual assault of the victims, and almost none of these cases are properly investigated or prosecuted. The fact that most of the murders go unpunished has contributed to the decline of overall security in Guatemala and demonstrates the dangerous situation for women and girls throughout the country.
While Guatemala has made some strides to improve the treatment of women under the law, there are still major obstacles for the country to overcome. For instance, domestic violence and sexual harassment are not considered crimes in Guatemala. This resolution condemns the murders, expresses sympathy and support for the struggle of victims' families for justice and urges that the murders be promptly investigated and prosecuted.
I hope that our two countries can work together to end the brutal murders of women and girls in Guatemala and to improve the security for all Guatemalans. I urge all my colleagues to support H. Res. 100.
Madam Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
Mr. BURTON of Indiana. Madam Speaker, I yield myself such time as I might consume.
First of all, I want to congratulate Representative Solis for introducing this bill. She and I have worked together on it, and I really appreciate her hard work. She is really concerned about the rights of women around the world and not just Guatemala. I appreciate that.
Let me start out by saying today we have heard a great deal about human rights violation, slavery and other issues. The problem is not confined just to one part of the world. In China today, as Representative Smith of New Jersey has pointed out many times, there are as many as 10 million people suffering in communist gulags, and other parts of the world. In the Sudan, [Page: H4244]
we see the oppression and the horrible atrocities that are taking place and
the mistreatment of not only men and women but children as well. It's just a horrible thing that we see these kinds of atrocities taking place around the world.
I really appreciate my colleagues on both sides of the aisle working so hard to focus attention on what's going on in these various areas to try to bring them to a halt. For humanity's sake, we can do no less.
I, however, today, rise in support of H. Res. 100, which recognizes and honors the women and girls who have been murdered in Guatemala. This bill brings to light the problem women in the democratic nation of Guatemala face in their daily struggle for survival. Given the current environment in Guatemala, women are not safe to walk along the streets day or night. A simple walk from home or school or work to mean abduction, mutilation or death for a Guatemalan woman or girl. Given the lack of legislative
protection and judicial investigation, women are often subjected to domestic abuse, often leading to death within the home as well.
Given that there is nowhere for these victims or their families to turn, over 2,000, as has been said to my colleague, over 2,000 Guatemalan women and girls have suffered horrendous deaths in the past 5 years. Tremendous efforts have been taken by some Guatemalan legislators and human rights workers and families of the victims. They come here to Washington to try to end such atrocities by focusing attention on them.
There has been a continuous rise, however, in the brutal female deaths. There can be no rest of the weary as long as these things go on. We must come together to assist their effort and urge the government of Guatemala to take quick deliberative action to investigate the killings and prosecute those responsible and eliminate the tolerance, the tolerance of violence against women.
The women in Guatemala deserve to experience peace and prosperity within their nation and not constant fear of sexual assault and deadly mutilation, in just walking to and from work, as I said before.
I ask my colleagues to see the urgency of this bill, and to support it. Once again, Representative Solis, thanks for your hard work.
Madam Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.
Mr. SIRES. Madam Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentlelady from California (Ms. Woolsey), a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee.
Ms. WOOLSEY. I would like to thank my colleague from California (Ms. Solis) for introducing this bill. I would like to thank Chairman Lantos for working to bring it to the floor as quickly as he did.
Madam Speaker, one of the top priorities of this 110th Congress has been to protect women's rights and to prevent violence against them. That is why I am particularly proud to be a cosponsor of this resolution, H. Res. 100, a resolution that brings the same kind of commitment to the women and girls of Guatemala. The supporters of H. Res. 100 are speaking loudly against the systematic abuse and sexual violence that the women and girls of Guatemala face.
Since the year 2001, 2,000 women and girls have been murdered. We are saying that it's beyond time for the Guatemalan government to stand up against these inexcusable and inhumane acts. They are acts of violence, and they must punish the offenders. We want them to put the resources necessary toward providing for investigations and for DNA testing.
Today, with this resolution, this Congress stands up and offers more than our condolences. We offer our support. We stand with the women and the girls of Guatemala, and we pledge to bring safety and justice to them. We want their government to work with us to that end.
Mr. SIRES. Madam Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the gentleman from New Jersey's 10th Congressional District, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health, my good friend Don Payne.
Mr. PAYNE. Madam Speaker, let me thank the prime sponsor, Ms. Solis, for introducing this very important House Resolution 100, expressing the sympathy of the House of Representatives to the families of women and girls murdered in Guatemala, and encouraging the Government of Guatemala to bring an end to these crimes.
Let me commend Ms. Solis from California, not only for the women in Guatemala but she has actually expressed concerns for the deaths of women in Mexico. We have had discussions with Ms. Solis about the murders on the border of the United States and Mexico where women have been killed and there are a tremendous number of unsolved crimes there, and she visited that community in Mexico to express our concern for the women of that region and that country. So this is simply an extension
of the work that she has done so well on behalf of women not only here in this country but throughout the world.
As we know, since 2001 more than 2,000 women and girls have been murdered in Guatemala, often preceded by abductions, sexual assault, or brutal mutilation. The murder rate has continued to increase and has grown from 2001 where there were 303 reported to more than 500 in 2006. And so we have asked the Government of Guatemala and actually the United Nations, and they recently signed an agreement to establish the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala, which has a mandate to investigate
and promote prosecution of illegal security groups and clandestine security organizations that function with impunity and are suspected of attacking human rights defenders and other crimes that have undermined the overall security in Guatemala.
So when we look to Guatemala and we express our sincerest condolences to the families of these women and girls, we must look at the condition of women throughout the world, even here in the United States. At a recent hearing last week of the Education and Labor Committee, we find that women make 82 cents on the dollar compared to what men make. And the sad part is that, as women progress in their years of work, the gap between men and women actually expands because they start at a lower base.
Men's salaries go up, women's salaries remain stagnant, and the gap becomes even greater.
So as we remember the women of Guatemala, let's remember that there is still gender bias throughout the world.
Ms. LEE. Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the gentleman for yielding and for your leadership, and just say today that I fully support and am a cosponsor of this resolution, and want to thank Congresswoman Solis for staying on point and continuing to focus and make sure that this House of Representatives understands the type of torture and violence that is taking place with regard to Guatemalan women.
As the resolution says, the murders of Guatemalan women and girls have increased significantly, from 303 to more than 500 in 2006. Since 2001, unfortunately, more than 2,500 women and girls have been killed. So it is up to us, I believe, to make sure that we as a neighbor to Guatemala, as people who care about women and girls, that we urge the Guatemalan Government to do some of the things that have been put forth in this resolution.
First, of course, we extend our sincere condolences and deepest sympathies to the families of the women and the girls who have been murdered in Guatemala. But also we have to do more than just extend our sympathy and express solidarity. We have to do what this resolution says. Let me just mention a couple of those things that we need to do.
We need to urge the Government of Guatemala to recognize domestic violence and sexual harassment as criminal acts. Nothing less than that will do. We need to make sure that our Secretary of State works with the Government of Guatemala to hold those accountable for their crimes. We need to make sure that the ambassador continues to meet with the families and the victims of the women and girls. We also need to make sure, and this resolution calls upon our Secretary of State, to develop a comprehensive
plan to address and combat the growing problem of violence against women in Latin America.
Mr. Speaker, I thank Mr. Sires, because this is such an important effort for women and girls, not only in Guatemala and Latin America, but for women and girls throughout the world.