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House Approves The Girls Count Act

Washington, June 1, 2015 | comments
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Washington, D.C. – Congressman Steve Chabot (R-Westwood) on Monday led the House effort to approve The Girls Count Act. This bipartisan legislation would make it U.S. policy to encourage the registration at birth of all children worldwide – a critical first step in securing fundamental human rights for these children.

On Monday evening, the House approved S. 802, the identical Senate companion to Chabot’s legislation, H.R. 2100, by voice vote. The Senate passed S. 802 on May 23, 2015, and the legislation will now be sent to President Obama for his signature.

“With the House passage of The Girls Count Act, we move one step closer to protecting some of the world’s most vulnerable populations and helping to rid the world of criminal enterprises that prey on children,” said Chabot. “I applaud my colleagues in the House and Senate, particularly Chairman Royce, Ranking Member Engel, Rep. McCollum and Senator Rubio, for their leadership on this important issue. And I am hopeful that President Obama will sign the legislation into law in the near future.”

Every year, approximately 51 million children worldwide are not registered at birth – many of whom are girls. Without a birth certificate, many of these children are denied full participation in society. Proper documentation for these children will not only improve their lives by making it easier to access schools, health services, or the economic, legal and political systems in their home countries, but also help combat the human trafficking, child marriage, and slave labor trades that flourish around the world.

The Girls Count Act aims to address this important issue by authorizing the U.S. Secretary of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator to work with countries, international organizations such as the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Bank, NGOs representing children and families, and faith-based organizations to support efforts to develop birth certificates and national registries for children in developing countries.

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