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Mr. Chairman, I am also concerned by the appearance that Hungarian officials have been willing to tolerate anti-Roma and anti-Semitic statements. In April, for example, a Hungarian mayor said that the Roma in his town "have no place among human beings. Just as in the animal world, parasites must be expelled." Unfortunately, Hungarian officials have declined to rebuke this repugnant statement. Likewise, while I commend the Foreign Ministry's condemnation in May of anti-Semitic manifestations at sporting events, I believe that the Hungarian Government can and should exercise greater initiative in denouncing anti-Semitic statements.
Finally, I would like to share my concerns regarding a possible revision of the Hungarian law on religion. Religious freedom has been generally well-respected in post-communist Hungary but this freedom is currently threatened by a draft law on religion reportedly under consideration by government officials which would mandate that only those religions with at least 10,000 members or 100 years of presence in Hungary could be officially recognized. If passed, this law would be one of the most restrictive laws affecting religious groups in the OSCE region.
Mr. Chairman, I join with my colleagues here today to commemorate the founding of the Hungarian state, to extol the contributions of Hungarian-Americans to this country, and to celebrate the shared values that Americans and Hungarians alike have committed ourselves to in the Helsinki process and, now, in the North Atlantic Treaty Alliance. I hope others will join me in supporting this resolution.
Statement of Chairman Benjamin A. Gilman
Markup of H. Con. Res. 297
June 29, 2000
I support the adoption of House Concurrent Resolution 297. It is interesting to note, as this resolution, that this year marks not just the one-thousandth anniversary of the crowning of Hungarian King Stephen - Saint Stephen – by Pope Sylvester the Second, but also the tenth anniversary of Hungary's first, post-communist, free and democratic elections.
Just a King Stephen anchored Hungary in Europe and in Western civilization, the leadership of post-communist Hungary has begun to anchor Hungary in pan-European and trans-Atlantic institutions once again through that country's admission into the NATO alliance and its application to enter the European Union.
While congratulating Hungary on the one-thousandth anniversary of the foundation of the Kingdom of Hungary, this resolution makes it clear that we in the United States commend Hungary's efforts to rejoin the pan-European and trans-Atlantic community of democratic states and its efforts to move beyond the dark days of communist dictatorship to create a lasting, peaceful and prosperous democracy.
I support the resolution.
Statement of Chairman Benjamin A. Gilman
June 28, 2000
Mr. Gilman: I want to thank the Chairmen and Ranking Minority Members of the International Operations and Human Rights, and the Asia and Pacific Subcommittees for favorably reporting S. Con. Res. 81 to the Full Committee.
Ms. Rabiya Kadeer, her son and secretary were arrested in Chinese occupied East Turkestan or Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region on August 11, 1999 as they were attempting to meet with a group of congressional staff.
Ms. Kadeer's husband works for Radio Free Asia and has been critical of the Chinese occupation of his homeland. After their arrest, the three individuals were eventually accused of illegally giving Mr. Kadeer various news clippings and public speeches concerning the struggle in East Turkestan. Ms. Kadeer was sentenced to eight (8) years in prison, her son was sent to a labor camp for two (2) years and her secretary sentenced to three (3) yean.
The resolution calls on the government of the People's Republic of China to immediately release these people and permit them to move to the United States if so they desire
I urge my colleagues to support the resolution.
"S. Con. Res. 81: Release of
Doug Bereuter, M.C.
June 29, 2000
Mr. Chairman, this Member stands in strong support of S.Con. Res. 81, which was introduced by the senior Senator from Delaware, Senator William Roth, and approved by the Senate on May 2nd. On June 27" S.Con.Res. 81 was approved by the Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific. The resolution expresses the sense of the Congress that the People's Republic of China (PRC) should immediately release Rabiya Kadeer, her secretary, and her son and allow them to move to the United States if they so desire.
Rabiya Kadeer is a prominent ethnic Uigher from China, who was arrested as she was attempting to meet a congressional staff delegation visiting Urumqi as part of an official visit to China organized under the auspices of the Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Program of the U.S. Information Agency. Subsequently, on March 104 of this year, Rabiya Kadeer was sentenced to eight years in prison for the crime of “illegally giving state information across the border.” Previously, her son was sent to a labor camp for two years in November of 1999 for "supporting Vighur separatism," and her secretary was recently sentenced to three years in a labor camp. In Ms. Kadeer's case the so-called “state information” appears to have consisted essentially of a collection of publicly available Chinese newspaper articles and speeches and a list of prisoners.
As the resolution notes, this case appears to constitute a clear violation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The Chinese Government's action in this case has been reprehensible and must be reversed. This resolution makes clear the strong sense of the Congress that Ms. Kadeer should be immediately released and allowed to join her family in the United States.
Approving S.Con. Res. 81 sends the strong message that, while this body approves of improved trade relations, we are nonetheless mindful of the serious human rights problems that exist within the People's Republic of China. This is an entirely appropriate message to send, for the United States cannot tum a blind eye to the abuses that continue to exist in the PRC.
Mr. Chairman, I urge adoption of S.Con.Res. 81.
Remarks of Chairman Benjamin A. Gilman
Mark Up of the Full Committee
June 29, 2000
I would like to express my full support of H. Con. Res. 348, as amended yesterday by the Subcommittee on International Operations. This vitally important resolution introduced by Mr. Lewis condemns the use of children as soldiers and expresses the belief that the U.S. should support efforts to end this practice where up to 300,000 children under the age of children are combatants in more than 30 countries around the world.
This resolution calls on the President to sign an United Nations optional protocol on the use of child soldiers raising the international minimum age for conscription and participation in armed conflict to age 18 and commits governments to the demobilization and rehabilitation of child soldiers.
This measure directs the President to consult closely with the Senate to build support for the adoption of this protocol and addresses a serious human rights abuse occurring with alarming frequency in many countries of the world including Sierra Leone. I would ask for its prompt adoption.