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Ms. Ros-LEHTINEN. I know that our Members are pressed for time. We are very happy to have the sponsor of the amendment with us here today and would like to recognize her for the opening statement. Thank you, very much. We are very happy that you are here with us. We want to make you part of our Subcommittee.

Ms. MILLENDER-MCDONALD. I would love to. Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. Come join us. Ms. MILLENDER-MCDONALD. Thank you, very much. Ms. Ros-LEHTINEN. Thank you. You are recognized, Ms. Millender-McDonald, whose bill is before us today.

Ms. MILLENDER-MCDONALD. Thank you, so much, Madam Chair, and it is great to be with you. I have always been impressed with your position on issues, such as what we are bringing forth to this Subcommittee today. And sitting to my left is a former Chair of mine, and so I am happy to be with Mr. Pitts, as well.

Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to comment, appear before Subcommittee, to offer this testimony on behalf of H. Con. Res. 349, this bill that I introduced in March of this year. Since that time, Madam Chair, accordingly to the recent letters I received from the Washington office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, or UNHCR, as it is commonly known, progress has been made by that organization, in taking preventive action and imposing guidelines for field staff in Africa and other regions of the world. Mr. Lubbers, the UNHCR head, issued a statement on July 12th, reiterating there is absolutely no place in the humanitarian community for those, who exploit others, and again emphasizes the need for strict adherence to a zero tolerance policy.

It is also true that the UN Office of International Oversight Services has carried out more than 250 interviews in the field on this matter, and will issue its report to the UN General Assembly later this year. One might be led to think that the allegations contained in the UNHCR Save the Children UK report of last February, on sexual abuse of child refugees, particularly young girls, were unfounded and that humanitarian workers in these refugee camps were being unfairly targeted. But, that is not the case.

All of this week, the wire services and Newsweek Magazine informed us about sexual abuse in a large refugee settlement in eastern Zimbabwe. The camp manager and the country director of the International Catholic Migration Commission were fired. The alleged abuses centered on ICMC employees denying scholarships and other services to female refugees, who refuse their demands for sex. It is suggested that there are further problems in Zimbabwe and Namibia, also located in southern Africa.

This issue is not an isolated matter, one to be regulated to the margins of our consciousness. The atter of sexual abuse of women and children is a real threat and especially for those, who have already been dispossessed from their homelands and who face uncertain futures.

In March, as co-Chair of the Congressional Caucus on Women's Issues, I participated in the commemoration of International Women's Day and joined with my other colleagues and Lifetime T.V. in highlighting the issues of stopping violence against women worldwide. Indeed, I moderated the panel on the international fight against violence. We heard from a number of advocates on matters

relating to trafficking, female genital mutilation, other crimes, and Afghan women.

We, also, focused on refugee women. On this issue, we now know that the lives of refugee women and their children are at stake. The quality of life in many refugee settings can lead to sexual violence, abuse, and harassment of children. This is what happens and appears to have occurred in the refugee camps—refugee camps located in Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia, and now Zimbabwe, and specifically and possibly elsewhere. Young girls are defenseless in the face of such exploitations and, therefore, we must be their champions wherever such evil is found in the world. It is appalling that local aid workers of international and local humanitarian agencies and NGOs and even perhaps some members of peacekeeping forces have been accused of carrying out this sexual exploitation.

Madam Chair, my solution commends the Secretary General of the United Nations for his forthright stand on this matter and supports his call for a complete investigation by the UN Office of Oversight Services for this gandiculous situation. When I and several other members of the women's caucus met with Mr. Anon in New York in April, he expressed his deep appreciation for our concern and indicated that along with the global UN investigation underway, he believed that more women should help manage these camps, to avoid such exploitation.

Part of the lack of protection of refugee children rights comes from too little money. Although the United States contributed about 22 percent of the budget of UNHCR, the funding from all donors is inadequate. Increased resources are a must, if better physical protection is to be made available for women and their children.

These refugee settlements are often large operations and are quite complex to run. Due to decreased funding, UNHCR and its NGO partners have had to cut staff and drop supervision of many services. This has led to the UN's guidelines on protecting the refugee women and children rights not being fully implemented.

Obviously, we must strive to commit more funding to UN agencies dealing with refugees, so that the camps become a less dangerous environment for women and children. My measure also calls on the President to reaffirm the commitment of the United States to protect the well being of human rights of women and girls, as well as to review, under USAID and the Department of Agriculture, the distribution of U.S. food assistance to refugee communities around the world.

We cannot allow girl children to become sexual pawns, because they do not have enough food to eat. This situation really should not be tolerated. It is distressing that many girls feel compelled to exchange sexual favors for food, because their food rations cannot last a month and their families go hungry. This lack of sufficient food is something that the American people would want to do something about. My bill requests USAID and the Department of Agriculture to review the way food assistance is provided to refugee communities.

Madam Chair, I thought it is important to highlight these issues and to show our government takes the matter of abuse of women

rights seriously whenever it is found. The President must confirm this principle on the part of the American people.

Hopefully, the final report of the UN investigation will make recommendations about the disciplining of those, who sexually exploit children. I firmly believe that this prompt action must be taken to bring those, who have brought shame upon the honorable profession of giving service to refugees dispossessed of the earth, to full account.

I appreciate your consideration in marking up this legislation in your Subcommittee and can only hope that it will move quickly out of the Full Committee for floor action. This matter cannot be swept away and will require the fullest review, if we are to combat this ultimate offense against the rights of the weakest of our global citizens, the refugees. Thank you, Madam Chair.

[The prepared statement Ms. Millender-McDonald follows:) PREPARED STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE JUANITA MILLENDER-McDONALD, A

REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA Madame Chair:

Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to appear before your Subcommittee and to offer this testimony on behalf of H. Čon. Res. 349, the Bill I introduced in March of this year.

Since that time, Madame Chair, according to a recent letter I received from the Washington Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, or UNHCR as it is commonly known, progress has been made by that organization in taking preventive action and imposing guidelines for field staff in Africa and in other regions of the world. Mr. Lubbers, the UNHCR Head, issued a statement on July 12th reiterating "there is absolutely no place in the humanitarian community for those who exploit others and again emphasizes the need for strict adherence to a 'zero-tolerance policy.” It is also true that the UN Office of Internal Oversight Services has carried out more than 250 interviews in the field on this matter and will issue its report to the UN General Assembly later this year.

One might be led to think that the allegations contained in the UNHCR/Save The Children (UK) report of last February on sexual abuse of child refugees, particularly, young girls were unfounded and that humanitarian workers in these refugee camps were being unfairly targeted. But that is not the case.

Only this past week, the wire services and NEWSWEEK magazine informed us about sexual abuse in a large refugee settlement in eastern Zimbabwe. The camp manager and the country director of the International Catholic Migration Commission (ICMC) were fired. The alleged abuses centered on ICMC employees denying scholarships and other services to female refugees who refused their demands for sex. It is suggested that there are further problems in Zambia and Namibia, also located in southern Africa. This issue is not an isolated matter-one to be relegated to the margins of our consciousness. The matter of sexual abuse of women and children is a real threat and especially for those who have already been dispossessed from their homelands and who face uncertain futures.

In March, as co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on Women's Issues, I participated in the commemoration of International Women's Day and joined with my other colleagues and Lifetime TV in highlighting the issue of stopping violence against women worldwide. Indeed, I moderated the panel on the International Fight against Violence. We heard from a number of advocates on matters relating to Trafficking, female genital mutilation, honor crimes and Afghani women. We also focused on refugee women.

On this issue, we now know that the lives of refugee women and their children are at stake. The poor quality of life in many refugee settings can lead to sexual violence, abuse and harassment of children.

This is what appears to have occurred in the refugee camps located in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia and now Zimbabwe and possibly elsewhere. Young girls are defenseless in the face of such exploitation and therefore we must be their champions wherever such evil is found in the world.

It is appalling that local aid workers of international and local humanitarian agencies and NGOs, and even perhaps some members of peacekeeping forces, have been accused of carrying out this sexual exploitation.

Madame Chair, my Resolution commends the Secretary General of the United Nations for his forthright stand on this matter and supports his call for a complete investigation by the UN Office of Oversight Services of this scandalous situation. When I and several other Members of the Women's Caucus met with Mr. Annan in New York in April, he expressed his deep appreciation for our concern and indicated that, along with the global UN investigation underway, he believed that more women should help manage these camps to avoid such exploitation.

Part of the lack of protection of refugee children's rights comes from too little money. Although the United States contributes about 22 per cent of the budget of UNHCR, the funding from all donors is inadequate. Increased resources are a must if better physical protection is to be made available for women and their children. These refugee settlements are often large operations and are quite complex to run. Due to decreased funding, UNHCR and its NGO partners have had to cut staff and drop supervision of many services. This has led to the UN's guidelines on protecting refugee women and child rights not being fully implemented. Obviously, we must strive to commit more funding to UN agencies dealing with refugees, so that the camps become a less dangerous environment for women and children.

My measure also calls on the President to re-affirm the commitment of the United States to protect the well-being and human rights of women and girls as well as to review under USAID and the Department of Agriculture, the distribution of US food assistance to refugee communities around the world.

We cannot allow girl children to be come sexual pawns because they do not have enough food to eat. This situation really should not be tolerated. It is distressing that many girls feel compelled to exchange sexual favors for food because their food rations cannot last a month and their families go hungry. This lack of sufficient food is something that the American people would want to do something about. My bill requests USAID and the Department of Agriculture to review the way food assistance is provided to refugee communities.

Madame Chair, I thought that it was important to highlight this issue and to show that our Government takes the matter of abuse of human rights seriously wherever it is found. The president must affirm this principle on the part of the American people. Hopefully, the final report of the UN investigation will make recommendations about the disciplining of those who sexually exploit children. I firmly believe that prompt action must be taken to bring those who have brought shame upon the honorable profession of giving service to refugees—the dispossessed of the earth-to full account.

I appreciate your consideration in marking up this legislation in your Subcommittee and can only hope that it will move quickly out of the full committee for floor action. This matter cannot be swept away and will require the fullest review if we are to combat this ultimate offense against the rights of the weakest of our global citizens—the refugee.

Thank you.

Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. Thank you. Very well said, Ms. MillenderMcDonald. I would like for the Members to put any opening statements they have without objection into the record.

And I have an amendment in the nature of a substitute at the desk with, without objection, will be considered as read. The substitute includes the technical language that we worked out with the author of the resolution, Ms. Millender-McDonald. It does have one additional resolve clause, to ensure that codes of conduct requirements apply not only to NGOs, but also to the UN and United States personnel engaged in refugee work, as Ms. MillenderMcDonald pointed out in her opening statements.

[The information referred to follows:]

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