108th Congress: 2003-2004

Iraq/Afghanistan
China
Europe
France
Iraq
Laos
North Korea
Russia
Saudi Arabia
Vietnam
Miscellaneous

Iraq/Afghanistan

Public Law 108-106 (H.R. 3289)

Iraq and Afghanistan Supplemental Appropriations

Includes a proviso which reads: "Provided further, That the Coalition
Provisional Authority shall work, in conjunction with relevant Iraqi
officials, to ensure that a new Iraqi constitution preserves full
rights to religious freedom." The law also requires monthly reports
until 2006 to include, among other information, progress on the efforts
by Iraqi officials to preserve religious freedom and tolerance of all
faiths.

http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=108_cong_public_laws&docid=f:publ106.108.pdf

Central Asia

H.Con.Res. 32 - Central Asia/ Human Rights
Expressing the Sense of Congress with respect with human rights in Central Asia.

Urges
that the President, the Secretary of State, and the Secretary of
Defense should follow the recommendations of the U.S. Commission on
International Religious Freedom by designating Turkmenistan a ‘Country
of Particular Concern' under the International Religious Freedom Act of
1998 and by making clear that Uzbekistan risks designation if
conditions in that country do not improve.

http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d108:h.con.res.00032:

China

H.Con.Res. 304 - Oppression by Chinese Government of the Falun Gong
Expressing
the sense of Congress regarding oppression by the Government of the
People's Republic of China of Falun Gong in the United States and in
China.

Resolution calls upon the Government of
the People's Republic of China to end harassment, detention,
imprisonment and other abuses of individuals exercising legitimate
right of freedom of religion and to demonstrate a willingness to abide
by international standards of freedom of belief. The resolution calls
upon the President, in accordance with the International Religious
Freedom Act of 1998 to take various actions to dissuade the Chinese
Government from stifling religious freedom, including formal protest to
the Chinese Foreign Ministry in response to the repeated violations by
the Chinese Government of basic human rights protected in international
covenants to which the People's Republic of China is a signatory.

http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d108:h.con.res.00304:

H.Res.530 - U.N. Resolution on Human Rights Abuses in China

Urging the appropriate representative of the United States to the 60th
Session of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights to introduce a
resolution calling upon the Government of the People's Republic of
China to end its human rights violations in China.

The
resolution calls upon the U.S. to offer a resolution at the 60th
session of the U.N. Human Rights Conference to urge China end its human
rights abuses. The resolution calls upon the Chinese government to stop
persecution of all religious practitioners, safeguard fundamental human
rights, release religious and other prisoners and to allow the USCIRF
and others to visit China without restrictions. The resolution makes
mention of the forced cancellations of two USCIRF trips to China due to
unacceptable conditions placed on the Commission by the Chinese."

http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d108:h.res.00530:


Europe

H.R. 4230 - Global Anti-Semitism Awareness Act of 2004

To authorize the establishment within the Department of State of an
Office to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism, to require inclusion in
annual Department of State reports of information concerning acts of
anti-Semitism around the world, and for other purposes.

Includes
a recommendation consistent with the USCIRF's recommendations on
anti-Semitism: ...the United States should continue to support efforts to
combat anti-Semitism worldwide through bilateral relationships and
interaction with international organizations such as OSCE...

http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d108:h.r.04230:

S.2292 - Global Anti-Semitism Review Act of 2004
To require a report on acts of anti-Semitism around the world.

Consistent
with the USCIRF's recommendations on anti-Semitism: Calls upon the U.S.
to continue to strongly support efforts to combat anti-Semitism
worldwide through bilateral relationships and interaction with
international organizations such as the OSCE [Organization for Security
and Cooperation in Europe].

http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d108:s.02292:

S.Con.Res.110 - OSCE/Anti-Semitism

Expressing the sense of Congress in support of the ongoing work of the
Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in combating
anti-Semitism, racism, xenophobia, discrimination, intolerance, and
related violence.

Consistent with USCIRF
recommendations on collecting and analyzing data on anti-Semitism:
...urges participating states [of the OSCE] to forward information/data
to ODIHR for analysis...

http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d108:s.con.res.00110:

H.Res.616 - Anti-Semitism in the European Union

Condemning the recent increase in acts of anti-Semitism in member
countries of the European Union, and for other purposes.

Consistent
with USCIRF recommendations on addressing anti-Semitism, the resolution
urges the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)
to: ...establish within the OSCE a framework to monitor anti-Semitic
activities...

http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d108:h.res.00616:

France

H.Res.528 - Ban on Religious Articles and Symbols

Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that France should
modify or abandon its ban on religious articles and symbols in state
schools and respect the freedom of all to practice their religious
faith without state interference.

Joins the
United States Commission on International Religious Freedom in
recommending that the U.S. urge the Government of France to reassess
this initiative in light of its international obligations to ensure
that every person in France is guaranteed the freedom to manifest his
or her religion or belief in public.

http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d108:h.res.00528:


Iraq

H.Con.Res.342 - Commending Iraqi Women

Commending Iraqi women for their participation in Iraqi government and
civil society, encouraging the inclusion of Iraqi women in the
political and economic life of Iraq, and advocating the protection of
Iraqi women's human rights in the Iraqi Constitution.

Urges the protection of the human rights of all Iraqis, particularly women, in the Iraqi Constitution.

http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d108:h.con.res.00342:


H.Res.545 - Transitional Administrative Law

Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that a specific
statement should be included in the Iraqi Transitional Administrative
Law guaranteeing the people of Iraq the right to freedom of thought,
conscience, and religion, and for other purposes.

Expresses
the need for the Transitional Administration Law (TAL) to include a
specific statement guaranteeing the rights to freedom of thought,
conscience, and religion for every Iraqi; that the TAL include the
principles of democracy, rule of law, pluralism; and that the TAL
include an explicit commitment that Iraq will respect and ensure the
rights guaranteed by international treaties to which Iraq is a party.

http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d108:h.res.00545:


Laos

H.Res.402 - Religious Liberty in the Lao People's Democratic Republic

Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives regarding the
urgent need for freedom, democratic reform, and international
monitoring of elections, human rights, and religious liberty in the Lao
People's Democratic Republic.

Cites
USCIRF's 2003 Laos report recommending Laos be designated a `country of
particular concern'". Among other recommendations, H Res 402 urges the
government of Lao, the United Nations, the European Union, and the
Association of South East Asian Nations to: "a) work to provide
unrestricted access to Laos, including special closed military zones
and closed provinces, to USCIRF and others; b) work to gain release to
prisoners of conscience, and those jailed for their religious beliefs
or ethnicity; and c) work to implement the recommendations of the
United States Commission on International Religious Freedom with
respect to promoting religious freedom in Laos."

http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d108:h.res.00402:


North Korea

H.Res.109 - North Korea/ UNCHR resolution

Urging passage of a resolution addressing human rights abuses in North
Korea at the 59th session of the United Nations Commission on Human
Rights (UNCHR), and calling on the government of North Korea to respect
and protect the human rights of its citizens.

Cites
the USCIRF's finding, "The North Korean state severely represses public
and private religious activities;" credits the USCIRF for highlighting
that "North Korean officials have arrested, imprisoned, tortured, and
sometimes executed citizens who were found to have ties with overseas
Christian evangelical groups operating across the border in China, as
well as those who have engaged in such unauthorized activities as
public religious expression and persuasion;" finds that a group of
Christians in a North Korean prison camp were tortured to death for not
repudiating their faith in 1990 and that North Koreans seeking asylum
face imprisonment, torture and sometimes death after being forcibly
returned to North Korea by the Chinese government; urges the Secretary
of State to introduce, and promote the passage of a resolution
addressing human rights abuses in North Korea at the 59th Session of
the UNCHR in Geneva.

http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d108:h.res.00109:


Russia

H.R. 1224 - Russia/Normal Trade Relations

To authorize the extension of nondiscriminatory treatment to the
products of the Russian Federation, and for other purposes.

Among
other things, finds that Russia is developing a system of governance in
accordance with the Helsinki Final Act, addressing issues related to
its national and religious minorities (although problems still exist
regarding the registration of religious groups, visa, and immigration
requirements, and other laws that interfere with the activities of
minority religious groups), has passed laws to protect religious
minorities against discrimination and/or violence, including
anti-Semitism, and continues to restitute religious property
confiscated from religious minorities during the Soviet era; terminates
the application of Jackson-Vanik to Russia by extending normal trade
relations to Russian products; states that the United States should
urge the Russian Federation to, among other things, ensure that its
laws conform to OSCE standards, provide for free emigration of its
citizens, safeguard religious liberty specifically ensuring that the
registration of religious groups, visa and immigration requirements,
and other laws do not interfere with the activities of minority
religious groups, enhance and enforce Russian laws that exist to
protect religious freedom, and expand the restitution of religious and
communal properties; and states that the USCIRF Annual Report shall
include an assessment of whether Russia is meeting OSCE standards.

http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d108:h.r.01224:


Saudi Arabia

H.Con.Res. 244 - Saudi Arabia/Religious Freedom

Expressing the sense of the Congress regarding the Government of Saudi
Arabia's lack of protection of internationally recognized human rights
and the absence of religious freedom in Saudi Arabia.

The
resolution calls on the Government of Saudi Arabia to safeguard the
freedom of non-Muslims, and of those Muslims who do not follow the
Wahhabi interpretation of Islam, to worship in private; and to permit
non-Wahhabi places of worship, such as churches, to function openly in
special compounds or zones for foreigners or in unadorned buildings
designated for this purpose. Consistent with USCIRF's recommendations,
urges the U.S. government to designate Saudi Arabia a ‘country of
particular concern' under the International Religious Freedom Act of
1998 for its systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations of religious
freedom; to develop and expand specific initiatives and programs in
Saudi Arabia to advance human rights, including religious freedom, the
rights of women, and the rule of law; and to report publicly to
Congress on its efforts to raise concerns regarding human rights,
including religious freedom, with the Government of Saudi Arabia,
including the results of those efforts. Also states that the USCIRF
concurs that religious freedom does not exist in Saudi Arabia and has
concluded that the Government of Saudi Arabia forcefully limits the
public practice or expression of religion to the Wahhabi interpretation
of Islam.

http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d108:h.con.res.00244:


H.Con.Res. 242 - Saudi Arabia/Education Curriculum
Expressing the sense of Congress regarding the education curriculum in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Congress
calls on the Government of Saudi Arabia to ensure that its review of
its education curriculum is thorough, objective, and public; urges the
Government of Saudi Arabia to reform its education curriculum in a
manner that promotes tolerance, develops civil society, and encourages
functionality in the global economy; and urges the Department of State
and other appropriate Federal agencies to work closely with the
Government of Saudi Arabia on any efforts to address the issues related
to education curriculum, textbooks, and teacher training.

http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d108:h.con.res.00242:


S.Con.Res. 14 - Saudi Arabia/ Curriculum
Expressing the Sense of Congress regarding the education curriculum in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Finds
that the only curriculum permitted by the Saudi government is written,
monitored, and taught by followers of Wahhabism and includes rote
memorization of religious texts, and encourages extremist,
anti-Semitic, anti-American, and anti-Western views; resolves that
Congress should support the Government of Saudi Arabia's review of its
educational curriculum; requests that the United States address the
issue at the 2003 session of the UN Educational, Scientific, and
Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and monitor the progress of educational
reform in Saudi Arabia.

http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d108:s.con.res.00014:

Vietnam

H.R. 1019 - Vietnam Freedom of Information Act of 2003
To promote the freedom of information in Vietnam.

Finds
Vietnam has failed to meet its obligations under the UN International
Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, continues to restrict the
media, and is taking measures to prevent its citizens from accessing
the Internet and obtaining political, religious, and economic
information; states that the policy of the United States is to overcome
jamming of RFA by the Government of Vietnam, and authorizes for Vietnam
$10 million for FY 2004 for ‘broadcast capital improvements', $4
million for each FY 2004 and 2005 for ‘international broadcasting
operations', and over $3 million for FY 2004 and 2005 to counter
jamming of the Internet by the government of Vietnam.

http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d108:h.r.01019:


H.R. 1587 - Vietnam Human Rights Act of 2003
To promote freedom and democracy in Vietnam

Among
other things, finds that the situation of human rights in Vietnam has
remained poor since the United States' ratification of the BTA with
Vietnam in 2001; finds that the government of Vietnam cracked down in
2002 on human rights activists, Buddhists, Protestants, and the
Montagnards, must approve all religious activity, and systematically
jams RFA broadcasts; finds that the USCIRF recommended in 2001 that
Vietnam be designated a CPC; prohibits increases in all
non-humanitarian U.S. assistance unless progress has been made by the
Vietnamese government toward releasing political and religious
prisoners, respecting religious freedom without government
interference, returning the property of churches, opening access to the
U.S. refugee program, and respecting the human rights of ethnic
minorities, among other things; directs the President to instruct U.S.
directors at the World Bank and IMF to oppose loans and assistance to
Vietnam unless the government of Vietnam has made progress toward
protecting religious freedom; promotes cultural exchanges between the
United States and Vietnam; authorizes $2 million for each FY 2004 and
2005 for NGOs and international organizations promoting human rights in
Vietnam and $10.2 million for FYs 2004 and 2005 for the Broadcasting
Board of Governors to overcome RFA jamming; requires the Secretary of
State to consult with the USCIRF before reporting to Congress six
months after enactment and annually thereafter on Vietnam's progress
toward meeting requirements of the Act.

http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d108:h.r.01587:


H.Res.427 - Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam

Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives regarding the
courageous leadership of the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam and the
urgent need for religious freedom and related human rights in the
Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

The resolution
specifically references USCIRF's report of Vietnam and USCIRF's
recommendation that Vietnam be designed a "country of particular
concern." States that the House of Representatives "is committed to
promoting religious freedom in Vietnam, and, in furtherance of this
goal, urges the implementation of the recommendations of the United
States Commission on International Religious Freedom...."

http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d108:h.res.00427:


H.Con.Res. 378 - Father Ly Release

Calling on the Government of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam to
immediately and unconditionally release Father Thaddeus Nguyen Van Ly,
and for other purposes.

References Father
Ly's invitation to testify before the USCIRF but that he was denied
permission by Vietnamese government to do so. He submitted written
testimony on religious freedom conditions and shortly thereafter was
placed under administrative detention. Calls for the immediate release
of Father Ly, condemns violations of religious freedoms among other
fundamental rights, and expresses the sense of Congress that the U.S.
should continue to urge the Government of Vietnam to comply with
internationally recognized standards for basic freedoms and human
rights.

http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d108:h.con.res.00378:


S.Res.311 - Father Ly Release

A resolution calling on the Government of the Socialist Republic of
Vietnam to immediately and unconditionally release Father Thadeus
Nguyen Van Ly, and for other purposes.

See comments on H.Con.Res. 378

http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d108:s.res.00311:

Miscellaneous

H.Res. 423 - Designating Oct. 27, 2003 as "International Religious Freedom Day"

Recognizing the 5th anniversary of the signing of the International
Religious Freedom Act of 1998 and urging a renewed commitment to
eliminating violations of the internationally recognized right to
freedom of religion and protecting fundamental human rights.

Resolution
describes the importance of religious freedom as an absolute human
right to all. Specifically references the creation of USCIRF under the
International Religious Freedom Act of 1998.

http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d108:h.res.00423:

S.Res.251 - Designating Oct. 27, 2003 as "International Religious Freedom Day"
A resolution designating October 27, 2003, as "International Religious Freedom Day".

Resolution
describes the importance of religious freedom as an absolute human
right to all. Specifically references the creation of USCIRF under the
International Religious Freedom Act of 1998.

http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d108:s.res.00251: