Sens. Jim Jeffords (R-VT), Harry Reid (D-NV), and Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) joined super model Waris Dirie in condemning the inhumane practice of female genital mutilation.
Dirie, who was born in Somalia and later earned fame through a modeling career, suffered FGM at the age of 5. Dedicated to ending this brutal practice, she is now the Special Ambassador for the United Nations Population Fund (UNPFA), which is working with indigenous groups and grassroots organizations to accomplish that goal.
UNPFA estimates that about 2 million women in 28 countries are at risk for FGM each year, despite condemnation by the international community and by national governments.
Last year, Congress eliminated U.S. funding for UNPFA, a mistake that Senator Jeffords and Rep. Maloney are attempting to correct. Each has sponsored a bill that would restore UNPFA funding for fiscal year 2000.