Press Release

August 10, 2021
Cardin, Democratic Colleagues Introduce Resolution Condemning Politically Motivated Imprisonment of Women around the World

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.) joined Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and Senators Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), and Chris Coons (D-Del.)  in introducing a Senate Resolution to condemn the politically motivated imprisonment of women around the world and to demand the immediate release of women political prisoners.

‘Brave women around the world are unjustly imprisoned simply for exercising their universal freedoms. In return, these women are subject to torture, sexual abuse, lack of due process, and unjust prison sentences by their repressive governments,” said Senator Cardin. “I am proud to join my colleagues in introducing this important resolution condemning the politically motivated imprisonment of women and calling for their immediate and unconditional release. We must continue to stand by those wrongfully imprisoned around the world.”

“Each day, women activists the world over face tremendous risks as they seek to advance fundamental human rights, safeguard democracy, and uphold the rule of law. Oppressive governments and abusive authorities around the world wrongfully and unjustly imprison women for exercising the universally recognized rights of freedom of assembly, association, and speech and subject many women to horrific sexual violence and torture, among other inhumane, degrading, and entirely unacceptable forms of treatment,” Chairman Menendez said. “This Senate Resolution not only recognizes the heroism and bravery of so many women in pursuit of exposing corruption and speaking truth to power, but it also condemns those governments and actors behind these heinous abuses. The United States must continue to decry the politically motivated imprisonment of women around the world, and press for the immediate release of those unjustly or wrongfully detained. Their voices cannot – and will not – be silenced.”

“Women have long been at the forefront of political movements around the world, but are too often subject to abuse and detention as a result of their activism,” said Senator Merkley. “Many countries continue to imprison women unjustly for standing up against corrupt governments and fighting for human rights. This resolution sends a clear message to oppressive regimes that the United States strongly condemns the politically motivated detainment of women activists and urges the immediate release of these heroes. We must stand up and protect women who show their bravery in protesting repression wherever it occurs.”

“Around the world, women are on the frontlines pushing for democracy and human rights. For their efforts, they are often met with repression and violence. From unjust detention to sexual violence and torture, women face heinous punishments for demanding basic rights and advocating for accountable governments. That must end,” said Senator Shaheen. “I’m joining lawmakers to send a resolute message from the Senate that the U.S. stands against wrongful imprisonment of women around the world and calls for their immediate release. We must protect women for their heroic efforts to advance fundamental rights.” 

“Women engaging in activism, journalism, and political leadership undertake great risk and make tremendous sacrifices in the face of oppressive governments,” Senator Coons said. “Despite these threats, these courageous women continue to fight for what is right. I am proud to stand with my colleagues in condemning the politically motivated detainment, harassment, and assault of women around the world and in calling for respect for women’s participation in political life.

Find a copy of the legislation HERE.