In the News

News Update

December 9, 2014

By Kayleen Jacobson, News and Policy Associate

Syria: Amnesty International has criticized affluent countries for their failure to provide refuge for Syrians displaced as a result of the civil war that began in 2011. The human rights organization calls for refugee pledges of 5% of displaced persons, or roughly 380,000 Syrians. Although Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt host 3.8 million refugees, wealthier countries, including the European Union and Gulf Arab states, provide little to no resettlement options for those who have been displaced.

Kenya: As a result of the Kenyan government’s “witness tampering, bribery and obstruction,” the International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor dropped charges of crimes against humanity against President Uhuru Kenyatta. Mr. Kenyatta denies the accusation that he assisted in the financing and facilitation of ethnic violence in 2007 that led to the deaths of 1,200 people and the displacement of  600,000.

Israel-Palestine: An increase of Israeli demolition of Palestinian homes is further exacerbating the volatile socio-political climate in the region. This is described as a “punitive” approach by a UN Humanitarian Coordinator.

Egypt: Hosni Mubarak, the deposed president of Egypt’s Arab Spring of 2011, has had charges of killing protestors dropped by an Egyptian court. The decision demonstrates an “erosion” of the political freedoms that were gained during the revolution. Protestors of the decision have been met with teargas by security forces. Mubarak is currently serving a sentence for embezzlement.

Paraguay: The indigenous people’s rights to land and resources is being challenged by the “encroachment [of] agro-businesses, logging companies, [and] cattle ranchers” and leading to displacement and poverty for minority groups. Without access to land security, education, medical services, and political participation, the absence of rights is rooted in “discrimination and racism,” according to the UN Special Rapporteur on Indigenous People.

Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina: In connection with the torture and killing of 20 Bosnians and Croatians  in 1993, a time of ethnic conflict for the region, fifteen suspected perpetrators were arrested last week. The detained include former police, army, and paramilitary members, some of whose former leader has been convicted of crimes against humanity.

United States: After a grand jury decision not to indict the police officer who killed an unarmed black man in New York, protests around the issues of police brutality, racial profiling, and systemic racism have erupted throughout the country. Foreign media have criticized the U.S. for touting human rights throughout the world while failing to address race relations at home. The United Nations has expressed “legitimate concerns” for the impunity that exists for minority victims when they are treated with excessive force.

Legislative Update

December 9, 2014

Discrimination

H.R.5774 : No Social Security Numbers and Benefits for Illegal Aliens Act of 2014
Sponsor: Rep Johnson, Sam [TX-3] (introduced 12/1/2014)
Latest Major Action: 12/1/2014 Referred to House committee. Status: Referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means.

War

S.J.RES.46 : A joint resolution to declare that a state of war exists between the organization known as the Islamic State and the Government and the people of the United States, and to make provisions to prosecute the same.
Sponsor: Sen Paul, Rand [KY] (introduced 12/3/2014)
Latest Major Action: 12/3/2014 Referred to Senate committee. Status: Read twice and referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations.

Peace

H.R.5778 : Boko Haram Disarmament and Northeast Nigeria Recovery Act of 2014: To support stabilization and lasting peace in northeast Nigeria and areas affected by Boko Haram through development of a regional strategy to support multilateral efforts to successfully protect civilians and eliminate the threat posed by Boko Haram, to support efforts to rescue female students abducted in Nigeria on April 14, 2014, as well as other kidnapping victims of Boko Haram, and to provide funds for humanitarian relief, development programs, transitional justice, and victim support, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep Wilson, Frederica S. [FL-24] (introduced 12/1/2014)

Cosponsor: Rep Honda, Michael M. [CA-17] – 12/8/2014
Latest Major Action: 12/1/2014 Referred to House committee. Status: Referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

H.R.5782 : Ukraine Freedom Support Act of 2014: To impose sanctions with respect to the Russian Federation, to provide additional assistance to Ukraine, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep Kaptur, Marcy [OH-9] (introduced 12/2/2014)

Cosponsors (17)

Rep Connolly, Gerald E. [VA-11] – 12/2/2014
Rep Engel, Eliot L. [NY-16] – 12/2/2014
Rep Fitzpatrick, Michael G. [PA-8] – 12/3/2014
Rep Frelinghuysen, Rodney P. [NJ-11] – 12/2/2014
Rep Gerlach, Jim [PA-6] – 12/2/2014
Rep Harris, Andy [MD-1] – 12/4/2014
Rep Higgins, Brian [NY-26] – 12/4/2014
Rep Joyce, David P. [OH-14] – 12/4/2014
Rep Keating, William R. [MA-9] – 12/2/2014
Rep Levin, Sander M. [MI-9] – 12/2/2014
Rep Moran, James P. [VA-8] – 12/2/2014
Rep Pallone, Frank, Jr. [NJ-6] – 12/4/2014
Rep Pascrell, Bill, Jr. [NJ-9] – 12/2/2014
Rep Quigley, Mike [IL-5] – 12/2/2014
Rep Renacci, James B. [OH-16] – 12/4/2014
Rep Stivers, Steve [OH-15] – 12/4/2014
Rep Stockman, Steve [TX-36] – 12/2/2014
Latest Major Action: 12/2/2014 Referred to House committee. Status: Referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs, and in addition to the Committees on Financial Services, Oversight and Government Reform, and 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.

S.RES.592 : A resolution recognizing the contributions of the Montagnard indigenous tribespeople of the Central Highlands of Vietnam to the United States Armed Forces during the Vietnam War, and condemning the ongoing violation of human rights by the Government of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.
Sponsor: Sen Burr, Richard [NC] (introduced 12/1/2014)
Latest Major Action: 12/1/2014 Referred to Senate committee. Status: Referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations.

H.R.5795 : To seek the establishment of and contributions to an International Fund for Israeli-Palestinian Peace.
Sponsor: Rep Crowley, Joseph [NY-14] (introduced 12/4/2014)

Cosponsors (1) Rep Fortenberry, Jeff [NE-1] – 12/4/2014
Latest Major Action: 12/4/2014 Referred to House committee. Status: Referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

S.RES.595 : A resolution recognizing Nobel Laureates Kailash Satyarthi and Malala Yousafzai for their efforts to end the financial exploitation of children and to ensure the right of all children to an education.
Sponsor: Sen Harkin, Tom [IA] (introduced 12/8/2014)
Latest Major Action: 12/8/2014 Referred to Senate committee. Status: Referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations.