Kate Puzey Peace Corps Volunteer Protection Act of 2011 Passes Senate Foreign Relations Committee by Unanimous Consent

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PoliticalNews.me - Jul 27,2011 - Isakson Praises Unanimous Committee Passage of ‘Kate Puzey Peace Corps Volunteer Protection Act of 2011’

Isakson’s Legislation Named After Georgia Peace Corps Volunteer Murdered in Africa

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., who serves as the ranking member on the Subcommittee on African Affairs, praised the unanimous passage of his Kate Puzey Peace Corps Volunteer Protection Act of 2011 by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Isakson’s legislation which is named for a Georgia Peace Corps volunteer who was murdered in 2009 while serving in Africa, would provide better security and protection measures for Peace Corps volunteers.

The legislation, S.1280, now goes to the full Senate for consideration. The House version of the bill, H.R.2337, was introduced by Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas, and awaits action in that chamber.

The legislation is named in honor of Kate Puzey, a 24-year-old Peace Corps volunteer from Cumming, Ga., who was murdered in 2009 in the West African village of Badjoude, Benin, soon after she had reported a colleague for allegedly molesting some of the young girls they taught.

“I am very pleased that the Committee passed this bill unanimously today, and I was honored to share this news with the Puzey family by phone,” said Isakson. “Not only does this legislation honor the life of a special young woman who lived a life of service, but it also ensures that others who make the sacrifice of volunteering in the Peace Corps are provided with the security and protection necessary to carry out their job.”

Isakson first became involved in the Kate Puzey case in 2009 when he read about her murder in a Georgia newspaper and subsequently attended her funeral. Since then, Isakson has worked with the Puzey family to seek justice for Kate and to pass legislation to provide better protection for Peace Corps volunteers.

In June, Isakson traveled to Africa where he met with President Boni Yayi of Benin to seek justice in the Puzey case. In their 2.5-hour meeting, Isakson urged President Yayi to allow the FBI to assist in the murder investigation and he hand delivered a letter from U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reiterating the importance the United States places on the Puzey case. Isakson is scheduled to meet again with President Yayi on Thursday in Washington.

The legislation provides whistleblower protection for Peace Corps volunteers, a safeguard that is currently in place for federal employees but not for Peace Corps volunteers. This type of protection would have given Kate more protection when she reported her allegations.

In addition, it requires the Peace Corps to develop sexual assault risk-reduction and response training and protocol in consultation with experts that complies with best practices in the sexual assault field. The training also is to be tailored to the specific countries in which volunteers serve.


Reference:

United States Senate. “Isakson Praises Unanimous Committee Passage of ‘Kate Puzey Peace Corps Volunteer Protection Act of 2011″ July 26, 2011.


Photo: Senator Johnny Isakson (R-GA) keeps the photo of murdered Peace Corps worker Kate Puzey at his desk on Capitol Hill. The image inspires him to seek justice in her death. | Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/MCT