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Meeks Co-Sponsors Legislation Aiding Women – QNS.com

Meeks Co-Sponsors Legislation Aiding Women

Congressman Greg Meeks is making mothers everywhere proud. In recognition of Mothers Day, Meeks co-sponsored the "Woman and Children in Armed Conflict Protection Act of 2003." Co-authored by Congresswoman Nita Lowey, the bill calls for the establishment of the Women and Childrens Protection Fund (WCPF) in the amount of $25 million per year. The bill authorizes an additional $10 million in funding for Migration and Refugee Assistance (MRA). The MRA is earmarked for the protection of women and children in refugee camps.
Since the United States is involved in conflicts all over the world, Meeks and Lowey thought it was important to put together legislation that would protect all the mothers and children affected by war. According to Meeks office, once a conflict has ended, mothers and children are oftentimes the ones who face the greatest risks.
"The bill would use the United States policies for helping countries rebuild its governments following war to focus on mothers and children," said Marc Mealy, a legislative aide for Meeks. "It would deal with their concerns."
Meeks noted the timeliness of the bill, citing current international conflicts and the newly released 2003 "Mothers Index," compiled by the humanitarian organization, Save The Children, which lists the best and worst places for mothers to live. A number of regions in Africa top the list as the worse places to raise a child.
"The realities of war are that both the immediate and long-term needs of women and children are often underserved in the aftermath [of war]," said Meeks. "The Save the Children Mothers Index demonstrates that investing in mothers during and after conflicts is the key to the overall well being of children and can help lay the ground work for future socioeconomic reconstruction and development efforts."
The legislation will seek to develop strategies for protecting women and children in all stages of war and will require the secretary of state to designate one or more senior-level officials to respond to humanitarian emergencies involving women and children.
The bill forbids humanitarian agencies that have yet to adopt a code of conduct from receiving financial assistance to protect recipients from sexual exploitation and abuse. The bill will also try to present economic opportunities for women who are refugees.
"I am glad to co-sponsor this legislation with Nita Lowey in order to create greater focus on the needs of women and children in general," said Meeks. "I want to help alleviate the critical conditions in many of these war-torn African nations."
Meeks applauded a recent move by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to spend $700 million on enhancing security in high-density urban populations in the United States. The DHS has earmarked $125 million from New York Citys 2003 fiscal year Supplemental Budget for its adjoining counties and mutual aid partners. The money will be used for security measures. Areas targeted for grants include the Port Authority, mass transit security, radiological defense systems, pilot (developmental) projects and technical assistance to state and local jurisdictions.
"I am pleased that the DHS is giving special attention to urban areas," Meeks said. "New York City needs and welcomes the additional support. We must continue to be vigilant and focused on homeland security. I will continue to fight on behalf of the 6th District as well as the entire city of New York to ensure we have the resources we need. This funding will allow us to do an even better job in keeping our neighborhoods safe."

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