In the News

News Update

October 15, 2015

By Alejandra Sanchez

News and Legislative Associate, Benjamin B. Ferencz Fellow in Human Rights and Law

Africa

 

Democratic Republic of Congo:  A military court  heard allegations against 39 soldiers accused of  violating military orders and of war crimes including  rape and pillaging. However, only two low-level soldiers were convicted of rape. Human Rights Watch responded, “the trial failed to deliver justice.”

 

Asia


Russia: Two weeks of air and missile strikes in Syria have demonstrated Russia’s ability to conduct operations beyond its borders and its development of and mastery over advanced weapons. Western officials have since acknowledged and expressed alarm at the country’s rapid military progress under President Vladimir Putin.


Central America

 

 

Guatemala: The Congress of Guatemala adopted a resolution condemning the 1992 occupation of Azerbaijan by Armenian forces and the ensuing Khojaly genocide. The resolution calls for “the peaceful settlement of the conflict in accordance with UN resolutions.” The gesture has been interpreted as a sign of Guatemala’s commitment to the values of the UN and respect for international law.

Europe

 

Germany: Germany has decided to accept 800,000 refugees. Thousands of PEGIDA (Patriotic Europeans against the Islamization of the West) members have rallied against the policy as anti-immigration protests have increased. Critics of the protesters contend that they are inciting public fears of instability.

North America

 

United States: Several Silicon Valley tech companies have answered President Obama’s call to help respond to the ongoing refugee crisis. A Kickstarter project backed by UNHCR has raised over $1.7 million.  Airbnb is offering free housing credits for aid workers stationed in areas most affected by the crisis. Twitter will soon enable humanitarian NGOs to accept donations through its platform.

 

South America


Venezuela: Leopoldo Lopez, designated as a Prisoner of Conscience by Amnesty International, was sentenced in September to nearly 14 years in prison. Human rights advocates denounced the decision as a product of a “politically-motivated and deeply-flawed” closed-door trial. His wife and activist Lilian Tintori believes Venezuela is suffering from a “humanitarian crisis” and has asked the international community to secure international observers for the upcoming parliamentary elections.

 

Legislative Update

 

H.R.3667 : United Nations Transparency, Accountability, and Reform Act of 2015. To promote transparency, accountability, and reform within the United Nations system, and for other purposes.

Sponsor: Rep Ros-Lehtinen, Ileana [FL-27] (introduced 10/1/2015)   

Committees: House Foreign Affairs

 

Latest Major Action: 10/1/2015 Referred to House committee. Status: Referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.


H.R.3693 : IRGC Terrorist Sanctions Act of 2015. To require a report on whether Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps is a terrorist entity, and for other purposes.

Sponsor: Rep Poe, Ted [TX-2] (introduced 10/6/2015)      

Committees: House Foreign Affairs

Latest Major Action: 10/6/2015 Referred to House committee. Status: Referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

 

H.R.3728 : To amend the Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act of 2012 to modify the requirement to impose sanctions with respect to the provision of specialized financial messaging services to the Central Bank of Iran and other sanctioned Iranian financial institutions, and for other purposes.

Sponsor: Rep Schweikert, David [AZ-6] (introduced 10/8/2015)   

Committees: House Foreign Affairs; House Judiciary; House Financial Services

Latest Major Action: 10/8/2015 Referred to House committee. Status: Referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs, and in addition to the Committees on the Judiciary, and Financial Services, 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.

 

H.RES.459 : Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that Christians in the Middle East are victims of genocide. Recognizes that Christians in the Middle East are victims of genocide, and encourages other nations to recognize the ongoing genocide.

Encourages the Administration to offer safety to Christians fleeing genocide by offering them priority in receiving refugee status and being admitted into the United States.

Sponsor: Rep Rohrabacher, Dana [CA-48] (introduced 10/1/2015)

Committees: House Foreign Affairs; House Judiciary

Latest Major Action: 10/1/2015 Referred to House committee. Status: Referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs, and in addition to the Committee on the Judiciary, 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.

 

H.RES.460 : Supporting the goals and ideals of the International Day of Non-Violence.

Sponsor: Rep Meng, Grace [NY-6] (introduced 10/2/2015)   

Committees: House Oversight and Government Reform

Latest Major Action: 10/2/2015 Referred to House committee. Status: Referred to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

 

H.RES.477 : 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 10/9/2015)

Committees: House Foreign Affairs

 

Latest Major Action: 10/9/2015 Referred to House committee. Status: Referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.


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S.2145 : Middle East Refugee Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2016

Sponsor: Sen Graham, Lindsey [SC] (introduced 10/6/2015)     

Committees: Senate Appropriations

Latest Major Action: 10/6/2015 Referred to Senate committee. Status: Read twice and referred to the Committee on Appropriations.

 

S.RES.278 : A resolution welcoming the President of the Republic of Korea on her official visit to the United States and celebrating the United States-Republic of Korea relationship, and for other purposes.

Sponsor: Sen Gardner, Cory [CO] (introduced 10/6/2015)  

Committees: Senate Foreign Relations

 

Latest Major Action: 10/8/2015 Passed/agreed to in Senate. Status: Resolution agreed to in Senate without amendment and with a preamble by Unanimous Consent.