In the News

News Update

Published August 21, 2014

by Chelsea Matson, News and Policy Associate

Congo: After 5 years in exile, 120,000 Congolese refugees that fled violence in 2009 were returned home by the UNHCR. They received identity documents, a cash grant for travel to their final destinations, and reintegration information. Read More

Iraq: After 2 years in captivity, US journalist James Foley was beheaded by the Islamic State terrorist group. A video documenting Foley’s murder was released to the public, warning that another American journalist, Steven Sotloff, would suffer the same fate if President Obama did not stop air strikes in Iraq and Syria. Read More

Liberia: The Ebola outbreak in western Africa continues to spread, with violent clashes erupting at the borders of quarantined areas. The outbreak has affected rural parts of Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone, and is now spreading to urban areas, such as Liberia’s capital, Monrovia. At least 1,350 have died from the virus in west Africa, with the largest number of fatalities in Liberia. Read More

Russia: In another attempt to intimidate government critics, Russia is deporting the American wife of activist, Ivan Pavlov, founder of the Institute for Freedom of Information Development. Pavlov’s wife, Jennifer Gaspar, has lived and worked in the country for 10 years. Read More

Rwanda: On August 7, the US announced a new partnership with Rwanda and other African nations to further develop their militaries, in the hopes of developing a rapid-deploying peacekeeping force around the continent. Rwanda has been involved in African peacekeeping for the past 10 years and acts as a consultant for the international community on improvements for peacekeeping missions in Africa. Read More

Somalia: The Somali parliament is asking for international aid to combat the worsening famine and drought crisis. Government officials fear a repeat of the 2011 famine crisis that killed more than 250,000 people. Read More

Syria: The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reports that more than 180,000 people, including 58,805 civilians, have been killed and 9 million displaced since 2011. These numbers continue to increase. Read More


Legislative Update

Published August 21, 2014

By Chelsea Matson, News and Policy Associate


H.RES.707: Condemning all forms of anti-Semitism and rejecting attempts to justify anti-Jewish hatred or violent attacks as an acceptable expression of disapproval or frustration over political events in the Middle East or elsewhere.

Sponsor: Rep Nadler, Jerrold [NY-10] (introduced 7/31/2014)

Cosponsors: Rep Bilirakis, Gus M. [FL-12] – 8/1/2014
Rep Granger, Kay [TX-12] – 8/1/2014
Rep Lowey, Nita M. [NY-17] – 7/31/2014
Rep Roskam, Peter J. [IL-6] – 7/31/2014

Latest Major Action: 7/31/2014 Referred to House committee. Status: Referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.



H.RES.705: Recommending the designation of a Presidential Special Envoy to the Balkans to evaluate the successes and shortcomings of the implementation of the Dayton Peace Accords in Bosnia and Herzegovina, to provide policy recommendations, and to report back to Congress within one year.

Sponsor: Rep Hahn, Janice [CA-44] (introduced 7/31/2014)

Related Bills: S.RES.131

Latest Major Action: 7/31/2014 Referred to House committee. Status: Referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.



H.R.5379: To impose sanctions on individuals that are responsible for the commission of serious and ongoing violations of human rights or gross violations of human rights against nationals of the People’s Republic of China or their family members, to protect universal freedoms in the People’s Republic of China, and for other purposes.

Sponsor: Rep Smith, Christopher H. [NJ-4] (introduced 7/31/2014)

Latest Major Action: 7/31/2014 Referred to House committee. Status: Referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs, and in addition to the Committees on Financial Services, the Judiciary, and Ways and Means, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned.



S.RES.530: Expressing the sense of the Senate on the current situation in Iraq and the urgent need to protect religious minorities from persecution from the Sunni Islamist insurgent and terrorist group the Islamic State, formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), as it expands its control over areas in northwestern Iraq.

Sponsor: Sen Portman, Rob [OH] (introduced 7/30/2014)

Cosponsors: Sen Alexander, Lamar [TN] – 7/30/2014
Sen Ayotte, Kelly [NH] – 7/30/2014
Sen Baldwin, Tammy [WI] – 7/30/2014
Sen Barrasso, John [WY] – 7/30/2014
Sen Blunt, Roy [MO] – 7/30/2014
Sen Boozman, John [AR] – 7/30/2014
Sen Cantwell, Maria [WA] – 7/30/2014
Sen Cardin, Benjamin L. [MD] – 7/30/2014
Sen Chambliss, Saxby [GA] – 7/30/2014
Sen Collins, Susan M. [ME] – 7/30/2014
Sen Crapo, Mike [ID] – 7/30/2014
Sen Cruz, Ted [TX] – 8/1/2014
Sen Durbin, Richard [IL] – 7/30/2014
Sen Enzi, Michael B. [WY] – 7/30/2014
Sen Fischer, Deb [NE] – 7/30/2014
Sen Grassley, Chuck [IA] – 7/30/2014
Sen Hatch, Orrin G. [UT] – 7/30/2014
Sen Heller, Dean [NV] – 7/30/2014
Sen Hoeven, John [ND] – 7/30/2014
Sen Inhofe, James M. [OK] – 7/30/2014
Sen Isakson, Johnny [GA] – 7/30/2014
Sen Johanns, Mike [NE] – 7/30/2014
Sen Johnson, Ron [WI] – 7/30/2014
Sen Kaine, Tim [VA] – 7/31/2014
Sen Kirk, Mark Steven [IL] – 7/30/2014
Sen Klobuchar, Amy [MN] – 7/30/2014
Sen Landrieu, Mary L. [LA] – 7/30/2014
Sen Lee, Mike [UT] – 7/30/2014
Sen Levin, Carl [MI] – 7/30/2014
Sen Manchin, Joe, III [WV] – 7/30/2014
Sen Markey, Edward J. [MA] – 7/30/2014
Sen McCain, John [AZ] – 7/30/2014
Sen Moran, Jerry [KS] – 7/30/2014
Sen Risch, James E. [ID] – 7/30/2014
Sen Rubio, Marco [FL] – 7/30/2014
Sen Sessions, Jeff [AL] – 7/30/2014
Sen Shaheen, Jeanne [NH] – 7/30/2014
Sen Stabenow, Debbie [MI] – 7/30/2014
Sen Thune, John [SD] – 7/30/2014
Sen Vitter, David [LA] – 7/30/2014
Sen Wicker, Roger F. [MS] – 7/30/2014

Related Bills: H.RES.663

Latest Major Action: 7/30/2014 Referred to Senate committee. Status: Referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations.



Religious Freedom

S.2675: To amend the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 to support religious freedom in foreign countries.

Sponsor: Sen Rubio, Marco [FL] (introduced 7/29/2014)

Cosponsor: Sen Cruz, Ted [TX] – 7/29/2014

Latest Major Action: 7/29/2014 Referred to Senate committee. Status: Read twice and referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations.