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109th Congress: 2005-2006

Belarus

Central Asia

China

Egypt

India

Iran

North Korea

'Russia

Saudi Arabia

Uzbekistan

Vietnam

Anti-Semitism

Belarus

H.Con.Res.102- Condeming Human Rights Violations in Belarus

Urging the appropriate representative of the United States to the 61st session of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights to introduce a resolution calling upon the Government of the Republic of Belarus to cease its human rights violations, and for other purposes.

This bill expresses concern that the Government of the Republic of Belarus has engaged in a pattern of clear, gross, and uncorrected violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms, noting that Belarusian authorities restrict in practice the right to freedom of religion and have increased their harassment of some religious groups. It is the sense of Congress that the Government of the Republic of Belarus should cease all human rights
violations, and respect the fundamental human rights of its citizens.

Central Asia

H.Con.Res 31- Human Rights in Central Asia
Expressing the sense of Congress with respect to human rights in Central Asia.

The bill expresses the sense of Congress that: (1) the Governments of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan should accelerate democratic reforms and fulfill their human rights obligations; (2) the President, the Secretary of State, and the Secretary of Defense should continue to raise at the highest levels with such Governments specific cases of political and religious persecution and urge greater respect for human rights and democratic freedoms; and (3) U.S. assistance to such Governments,
made possible by their cooperation in the war in Afghanistan, can be sustained only if there is substantial progress toward meeting such goals. The Bill includes a proviso which reads: "the President, the Secretary of State, and the Secretary of Defense should follow the recommendations of the United States 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 a similar designation if conditions in that country do not improve."

H.R. 3189-Central Asia Democracy and Human Rights Act

The bill presents finding of Congress that cover a wide range of issues but specifically states that more than 13 years after independence, the five countries of Central Asia-Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan-are struggling, to varying degrees, with their transformation from authoritarian rule to democratic societies that fully respect human rights and uphold their freely undertaken commitments as participating States in the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE); and that the United States has a unique opportunity to implement short-term policies promoting stability, human dignity and security in the countries of Central Asia. The bill provides a sense of Congress that the United States should support those governments and individuals making substantial and sustained progress to establish democracy, guarantee the rule of law, and protect human rights. The bill authorizes assistance for liberalizing laws affecting religious practice and their enforcement. The act authorizes $15 million for fiscal year 2006 and each subsequent fiscal year for Voice of America and RFE/RL for expanded radio broadcasting to the people of the countries of Central Asia. In order to be eligible for assistance, the President must certify that the countries of Central Asia meet the following criteria: democratization, freedom of expression and the media; freedom of religion, association, and the right of peaceful assembly; prevention of torture; and respect for the rule of law and nondiscrimination. Finally, countries face a 33% reduction in assistance each year that they are not certified by the President.

China

H. Res. 43-E.U. Arms Embargo on China
A resolution urging the European Union to maintain its arms export embargo on the People's Republic of China.

This resolution urges the European Council to continue to maintain its embargo on the sales of arms to the People's Republic of China. Additionally, it makes reference to the September 2004 classification of the People's Republic of China as a Country of Particular Concern for engaging in severe violations of religious freedom, including continued suppression of religious groups perceived to be threatening to government authority or national stability. The resolution also expresses the concerns of the House of Representatives over the continuing human rights conditions inside the People's Republic of China; and encourages the United States Government and the European Union to join together in a cooperative effort to develop a common strategy to seek improved human rights conditions in the People's Republic of China.

H.Res. 608- Condemning Religious Persecution in the People's Republic of China
Condemning the escalating levels of religious persecution in the People's Republic of China.

This resolution calls for condemning the imprisonment of religious leaders and people of faith in the People's Republic of China and urges their release. It also expresses the Sense of the House of Representatives that U.S. policy should be to promote and defend religious freedom and freedom of conscience in China.

H. Con. Res. 83-Resolution to End Human Rights Violations
Urging the appropriate representative of the United States to the 61st 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, and for other purposes.

The resolution states that Congress urges the Government of the People's Republic of China to take the necessary measures to stop the persecution of all religious practitioners and to safeguard fundamental human rights; to release from detention all prisoners of conscience, persons held because of their religious beliefs, and persons of humanitarian concern; to allow the Chinese people to freely and openly practice their religious beliefs and organize their religious communities according to the dictates of conscience; and, to immediately allow without restriction, visits to China by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, the United Nations Special Rapporteurs on Religious Intolerance and Torture, and the International Committee of the Red Cross.

S.Res.91- E.U. Arms Embargo on China
A resolution urging the European Union to maintain its arms export embargo on the People's Republic of China.

The resolution states that Congress urges the European Union to maintain its arms embargo on the People's Republic of China. Human rights conditions in China have not changed since the 1989 incident in Tiananmen Square and therefore there is no legitimate reason to lift the embargo. Congress warns that such action would allow the People's Republic of China to gain military modernization that would threaten Taiwan, and disrupt peace and security in the East Asia and Pacific region. Lifting the embargo on China would also necessitate a reevaluation by the United States of procedures for licensing arms and
dual-use exports to member states of the European Union. The resolution also expresses congressional concern over China's continuing proliferation of technology related weapons of mass destruction to other countries. The Resolution includes a proviso which reads: " Whereas the People's Republic of China remains a primary supplier of weapons to countries such as Burma and Sudan where, according to the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, the military has played a key role in the oppression of religious and ethnic minorities."

Egypt

H.Res. 413-U.S. Aid to Egypt

Expressing the concern of the House of Representatives regarding the amount of United States foreign assistance provided to Egypt over the past 25 years without meaningful political reforms by the Government of Egypt, and for other purposes.

A number of the USCIRF's findings and recommendations are included in this resolution. The resolution calls on the Government of Egypt to, among other things, meet its obligations under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; implement procedures that would ensure that all places of worship are afforded equal treatment and protection, and; take all appropriate steps to prevent and punish acts of anti-Semitism, including condemnation of anti-Semitic acts, and, while vigorously protecting freedom of expression, counteract anti-Semitic rhetoric in the government-controlled media and other organized anti-Semitic activities. Additionally, the resolution calls on the United States to offer direct assistance to eligible Egyptian human rights and other civil society groups, which seek to strengthen democratic principles and promote the rule of law, without the prior approval of the Government of Egypt, and; negotiate an agreement with the Government of Egypt to establish a timetable for progress on political and human rights reforms.

H.R. 1670- Egyptian Counter-terrorism and Political Reform Act

The act makes a number of findings, including that officials of the Government of Egypt allow anti-Semitic articles and cartoons to flood the semi-official Egyptian press, and that the Coptic Christian minority of between 6 and 10 million in Egypt is victimized regularly. The act presents a sense of Congress that the amount of United States military assistance that would have been provided for Egypt for a fiscal year should be provided in the form of economic support fund assistance and that such assistance should be in addition to economic support fund assistance already proposed to be provided for Egypt.

India

H.Res.160-Urging the United States to condemn all violations of religious freedom in India
Condemning the conduct of Chief Minister Narendra Modi for his actions to incite religious persecution and urging the United States to condemn all violations of religious freedom in India.

The resolution expresses a sense of Congress condemning Chief Minister Narendra Modi for condoning or inciting bigotry and intolerance against any religious groups in India, including people of the Christian and Islamic faiths; and urges the United States to condemn violations of religious freedom and to promote and assist other governments in promotion of the fundamental right to freedom of religion. Includes a proviso which reads: "Whereas the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has confirmed in its May 2004 report that since the political party of Chief Minister Modi took office in 1998, there have been ‘hundreds of attacks on Christian leaders, worshipers, and churches throughout India, including killings, torture, rape and harassment of church staff, destruction of church property, and disruption of church events; Whereas USCIRF has confirmed in its May 2004 report that the state government in Gujarat led by Chief Minister Modi has been widely accused of being reluctant to bring the perpetrators of the killings of Muslims and non-Hindus to justice."

Iran

H.R. 282 and S. 333- Iran Freedom Support Act

The legislation authorizes the President to provide financial and political assistance to foreign and domestic individuals, organizations and entities that support and promote democracy in Iran. Financial and political assistance may be provided to an individual, organization or entity that officially opposes the use of terrorism; advocates the adherence by Iran to nonproliferation regimes for nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons and materiel; is dedicated to democratic values and supports the adoption of democratic reform of government in Iran; is dedicated to respect for human rights, including the fundamental equality of women; works to establish equality of opportunity for people; and supports freedom of the press, freedom of speech, freedom of association and freedom of religion.

North Korea

H.Con.Res.168-Condemning Human Rights Violations in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea
Condemning the conduct of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea for the abductions and continued activity of citizens of the Republic of Korea and Japan as acts of terrorism and gross violations of human rights.

In particular, the resolution expresses concern for Reverend Kim Dong-shik, on the issue of forced abductions and captivity. Additionally, the resolution expresses the sense of Congress that: (1) condemns the Government of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea for the abduction and continued captivity of citizens of the Republic of Korea and Japan as acts of terrorism and gross violations of human rights; (2) calls upon the North Korean Government to immediately cease and desist from carrying out abductions, release all victims of kidnapping and prisoners-of-war still alive in North Korea, and provide a full and verifiable accounting of all other cases; (3) recognizes that resolution of the nuclear issue with North Korea is of critical importance, however, this should not preclude United States Government officials from raising abduction cases and other critical human rights concerns in any future negotiations with the North Korean regime; (4) calls upon the United States Government not to remove the Democratic People's Republic of Korea from the Department of State's list of State Sponsors of Terrorism until such time that North Korea renounces state-sponsored kidnapping and provides a full accounting of all abduction cases; and (5) admonishes the Government of the People's Republic of China for the forced repatriation to North Korea of Han Man-taek, a South Korean prisoner-of-war and comrade-in-arms of the United States, and for its failure to exercise sovereign control over teams of North Korean agents operating freely within its borders.

Russia

S.Con.Res.46- Expressing Support for Religious Freedom In Russia

A resolution expressing the sense of the Congress that the Russian Federation should fully protect the freedoms of all religious communities without distinction, whether registered and unregistered, as stipulated by the Russian Constitution and international standards.

Expresses the sense of Congress that the United States should: (1) urge the government of the Russian Federation to ensure full protection of freedoms for all religious communities and end the harassment of unregistered religious groups; (2) continue to raise concerns with the government of the Russian Federation over violations of religious freedom; and (3) urge the Council of Europe, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), and the United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief to raise with Russian Federation officials issues relating to freedom of religion.

H. Con. Res. 190-Religious Community Registration in Russia

This resolution presents a sense of Congress that the United States should urge the Russian Federation to ensure full protection of freedoms for all religious communities without distinction, whether registered and unregistered, and end the harassment of unregistered religious groups by the security apparatus and other government agencies; urge the Russian Federation to ensure that law enforcement officials vigorously investigate acts of violence against unregistered religious communities, as well as make certain that authorities are not complicit in such attacks; continue to raise concerns with the Government of the Russian Federation over violations of religious freedom, including those against unregistered religious communities, especially indigenous denominations not well known in the United States; ensure that United States Embassy officials engage local officials throughout the Russian Federation, especially when violations of freedom of religion occur, and undertake outreach activities to educate local officials about the rights of unregistered religious communities; urge both the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chair-in-Office on Combating Racism, Xenophobia and Discrimination, also focusing on Intolerance and Discrimination against Christians and Members of Other Religions, and the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief to visit the Russian Federation and raise with federal and local officials concerns about the free practice of unregistered religious communities; and urge the Council of Europe and its member countries to raise with Russian Federation officials issues relating to freedom of religion, especially in light of the Russian Federation's responsibilities as President of the Council in 2006.

Saudi Arabia

H.R.505- Prohibit Aid to Saudi Arabia Act
To prohibit assistance to Saudi Arabia.

The resolution states that due to findings that the Saudi Arabian government has provided funding for major terrorist organizations and textbooks inciting violence against non-Muslims, as well as Saudi Arabia's interest in acquiring nuclear weapons from Pakistan, funds appropriated for foreign operations, export financing, and related programs to be obligated or expended for Saudi Arabia should be prohibited. Includes such prohibition of direct loans, credits, insurance, and guarantees of the U.S. Export-Import Bank. Includes a proviso, which reads, "The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom has reported that Saudi Arabian Government - funded textbooks used both in Saudi Arabia and also in North American Islamic schools and mosques have been found to encourage incitement to violence against non-Muslims."

H.R. 2037 and S. 1171- Saudi Arabia Accountability Act of 2005

This bill includes the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom's finding that Saudi Arabian Government-funded textbooks used both in Saudi Arabia and also in North American Islamic schools and mosques have been found to encourage incitement to violence against non-Muslims. The bill also includes a provision requiring the President to prohibit the export to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and prohibit the issuance of a license for the export to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia of any item identified on the Commerce Control List maintained under part 774 of title 15, Code of Federal Regulations. The Commission has recommended that the U.S. government prohibit any agency or instrumentality of the government of Saudi Arabia responsible for committing particularly severe violations of religious freedom from being issued any licenses for the export of any item on the U.S. Commerce Control List.

Uzbekistan

H. Con. Res. 187-Uzbekistan

The resolution presents a sense of Congress that the Government of Uzbekistan should accelerate democratic reforms and fulfill its human rights obligations by releasing from prison all individuals jailed for peaceful political activism or the nonviolent expression of their political or religious beliefs; and; permitting the free exercise of religious beliefs and ceasing the persecution of members of religious groups and denominations not registered with the government. Additionally, the resolution presents a sense of Congress that the President, Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense should raise at the highest levels with the Government of Uzbekistan the concern of the United States for greater respect for human rights and democratic freedoms in Uzbekistan and related conditions for United States assistance; and, ensure that United States assistance does not benefit the security forces of Uzbekistan that have been implicated in violations of human rights; and, support those individuals, nongovernmental organizations and media outlets in Uzbekistan working to establish a more open society and a transparent, democratic system of government.

Vietnam

H.R. 3190-Vietnam Human Rights Act

The act presents findings of Congress stating that the Government of Vietnam continues to detain and imprison persons for the peaceful expression of dissenting religious and political views. The act states that, in order to receive bilateral non-humanitarian assistance, the Government of Vietnam must make substantial progress toward the following: releasing all political and religious prisoners from imprisonment; respecting the right to freedom of religion, including the right to participate in religious activities and institutions without interference by or involvement of the Government; returning estates and properties confiscated from the churches; allowing Vietnamese nationals free and open access to United States refugee programs; and respecting the human rights of members of the ethnic minority groups in the Central Highlands or elsewhere in Vietnam. The act requires that the Secretary of State submit to Congress a report on efforts by the United States government to secure transmission sites for Radio Free Asia in countries in close geographical proximity to Vietnam, and a description of the development of the rule of law in Vietnam.

H.Con.Res.320- Prisoners of Conscience in Vietnam

Calling on the Government of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam to immediately and unconditionally release Dr. Pham Hong Son and other political prisoners and prisoners of conscience, and other purposes.

Among other things, finds that the continuing arbitrary imprisonment and persecution of peaceful democratic and religious activists for reasons related to their political or religious views is deplorable. Includes a Sense of Congress urging the government of Vietnam to allow unfettered access to Western Diplomats, humanitarian organizations and journalists to the Central Highlands and the Northwest Highlands where there have been credible reports that ethnic minorities are suffering from numerous violations of their human rights, among these are restrictions on religious practice; and applauding the European Parliament for its December 2005 resolution calling on Vietnamese authorities to stop acts of repression against members of the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam and to officially recognize their existence and that of other non-recognized churches in the country. H.CON.RES. 320 further calls for: (1) the immediate release of political prisoners and prisoners of conscience detained for peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of opinion, expression, press, and religion; (2) the release of Dr. Pham Hong Son to remain a top concern; and (3) for the U.S. to continue to urge the Government of Vietnam to comply with internationally recognized standards for basic freedoms and human rights.

Anti-Semitism

H.Res.39- Strengthening of the fight against racism, intolerance, bigotry, prejudice, discrimination, and anti-Semitism
Commending countries and organizations for marking the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz and urging a strengthening of the fight against racism, intolerance, bigotry, prejudice, discrimination, and anti-Semitism.

Recognizes the sacrifices, service, and dedication of Allied soldiers and partisans and underground fighters that resulted in the defeat of the Nazi regime and the liberation of Auschwitz and other World War II concentration camps. Expresses gratitude to individuals and organizations that assisted survivors of Nazi brutality. Commends countries marking the 60th anniversary (on January 27, 2005) of the liberation of Auschwitz, as well as the United Nations General Assembly and other international organizations, for honoring Holocaust victims and increasing awareness of the Holocaust. Urges all countries to strengthen efforts to fight racism, intolerance, bigotry, prejudice, discrimination, and anti-Semitism. Urges governments and educators to teach the lessons of the Holocaust so that future generations will understand that racial, ethnic, and religious intolerance and prejudice can lead to the genocide carried out in camps such as Auschwitz.

H.Res.54-Anti-Semitism in the United Nations
Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives regarding anti-Semitism at the United Nations, and for other purposes.

This bill welcomes recent United Nations (UN) attempts to address the issue of anti-Semitism, and calls on the UN to condemn anti-Semitic statements in its meetings and hold member states accountable for such statements. Urges the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to develop and implement Holocaust education programs. Expresses the sense of the House of Representatives that the President should direct the Secretary of State to: (1) include in the Department of State's annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices and annual Report on International Religious Freedom information on UN and constituent body compliance with international human rights treaties and norms relating to anti-Semitism; and (2) use projects funded through the Middle East Partnership Initiative and U.S. overseas broadcasts to educate Arab and Muslim countries about anti-Semitism, religious intolerance, and incitement to violence.