BELLEVUE, WA – The Second Amendment Foundation today offered testimony before the First Committee of the United Nations General Assembly on behalf of the right of individual self-defense, especially for women in developing countries.

Speaking for SAF was Operations Director Julianne Versnel, who told the panel, “The United Nations recognizes the right of governments to defend themselves, and to possess the means of doing so. Yet this body perpetuates the situation that keeps the number of women victims growing by denying them, and in fact all human beings, the means to–and decrying even their right to—defend themselves.

“They are the victims not of small arms,” she continued, “but of political philosophies and state policies that say only governments are worthy of defending themselves. To argue that people have the right to live but not to defend their lives is to argue in favor of continuing to keep women at risk of criminal violence in places where government does little to protect them.”

Noting that “more people die every day from malaria than are murdered by small arms in three days,” Versnel detailed how more women and children die from starvation every day than are murdered with small arms over a 15-day period. She urged the committee to remember women who are “raped by armed gangs in Mexico” and those who are mutilated, or murdered in so-called “honor violence.”

Versnel told the committee that the U.N. “must address the right of women to defend themselves and their right to have the physical means–including firearms—of doing so. Or, acknowledge the hypocrisy inherent in proclaiming support for women’s causes while keeping them vulnerable to male-perpetuated criminal violence.”