House Joint Resolution 12, currently pending in the U.S. Congress, denounces “the practices of female genital mutilation, domestic violence, `honor’ killings, acid burnings, dowry deaths, and other gender-based persecutions” and expresses the sense of Congress that “participation, protection, recognition, and equality of women is crucial to achieving a just, moral and peaceful society.”  The resolution is sponsored by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D. Tex).

     In the United States, female genital mutilation has been illegal since 1996 under 18 U.S.C. § 116, and the practice has sometimes been the basis for granting asylum.  A collection of news articles on this subject are available here from the New York Times.  A story earlier this week reports on a conference, convened in New York by the Sauti Yetu Center for African Women and Girls and Harlem Hospital, addressing the needs of families affected by genital cutting.  See Nadia Sussman, After School in Brooklyn, West African Girls Share Memories of a Painful Ritual (April 25, 2011).