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H. CON. RES. 351
Expressing the sense of Congress that the United States should condemn
the practice of execution by stoning as a gross violation of human rights, and for other purposes.
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
MARCH 14, 2002 Ms. McCOLLUM submitted the following concurrent resolution; which was
referred to the Committee on International Relations
CONCURRENT RESOLUTION Expressing the sense of Congress that the United States
should condemn the practice of execution by stoning as a gross violation of human rights, and for other
Whereas death by stoning is a punishment formerly imposed
in Afghanistan under the Taliban regime, and has been documented as a punishment in Nigeria, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen, according to the De
partment of State Reports on Human Rights Practices; Whereas the brutal sentence of death by stoning is applied
to women who have been accused of adultery, coerced
into prostitution, or even raped; Whereas execution by stoning is an exceptionally cruel form
of punishment that violates internationally accepted
standards of human rights, including those set forth in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the United Nations Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment;
Whereas women around the world continue to be targeted for
discriminatory, inhuman, and cruel punishments by governments who refuse to protect the rights of all of their citizens equally; and
Whereas Safiya Hussaini stands convicted of adultery and
has been sentenced to death by stoning in the State of Sokoto, Nigeria, based solely on the evidence that she was divorced and pregnant, despite her claim that she was a victim of rape, and the fact that she has since given birth to the child: Now, therefore, be it
1 Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate 2 concurring), That it is the sense of Congress that,
(1) the United States should condemn the prac
tice of execution by stoning, and should call upon
cruel punishment; and
(3) the President should urge Nigerian Presi
dent Olusegun Obasanjo to immediately suspend the sentence of death by stoning imposed on Safiya
Hussaini and take steps to ensure that Nigeria acts
.HCON 351 IH
Ms. Ros-LEHTINEN. I'd like to make my opening statement and then I would like to ask Mr. Pitts if he has any opening remarks. We are very thankful that the sponsor of the bill is with us and, although not a Member of our Subcommittee, we will also recognize her. And we will be looking at Ms. McCollum's stoning resolution, which seeks to condemn the practice of execution by stoning as degrading and inhuman treatment and a gross violation of human rights.
I first became involved with efforts to appeal stoning laws several years ago, after viewing a graphic and disturbing video of women in Iran being subjected to this abhorrent and cruel punishment. In the video, the condemn begin to pray, asking their god for the inner strength to endure with faith and fortitude what awaits them. They are wrapped head to foot in white shroud and buried up to their waste. Then, the stoning begins. The stones are specifically chosen, so they are large enough to cause pain, but not as large as to kill the condemn immediately. They are guaranteed a slow, tortuous death. Sometimes, their children are forced to watch. Their offense is usually adultery.
As I spoke to some of the victims, it was difficult for me to comprehend that such a deplorable practice is still being used. It is unconscionable that as we approach the conclusion of the first congressional session of the 21st century, we are still faced with the gruesome reality that stoning is employed in multiple countries, despite the ratification of the Convention Against Torture and obligations under other international human rights covenants.
For this reason, the substitute, which I will offer, goes beyond the Nigerian cases cited in the original resolution, to ensure a broader presentation of this situation and, in turn, more encompassing condemnation of the practice of stoning. Further, in Subcommittee and Committee hearings and briefings on the State Department's Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, the Annual Report on International Religious Freedom, and its Trafficking in Persons Reports, we have discussed the use of stoning and other inhumane practices, such as flogging and hanging.
We confirm that death by stoning disproportionately targets the female population under charges of adultery and prostitution and learn that it sometimes is employed against men and is used to punish other so-called crimes, which are more political in nature. The substitute covers these cases.
I ask my colleagues to support this substitute and I urge the President or Secretary of State to work with us, with Ms. McKinney and I, as we offer this toward the repeal of stoning laws and adherence to international human rights standards. And it is my pleasure to recognize my dear friend, Congresswoman Grace Napolitano, for any opening remarks.
Ms. NAPOLITANO. Thank you, Madam Chair. It is very important that we take a look at what is happening around the world publicly and vociferously object to the stoning practices, and the ability for us to be able to bring more information to light, so that we are all aware and can support resolution—this resolution, as it moves forward
Ms. Ros-LEHTINEN. Thank you, Ms. Napolitano.
Ms. NAPOLITANO (continuing). In order to move this agenda forward.
Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. Thank you, very much. Mr. Pitts, any opening remarks?
Mr. PITTS. Just that I am pleased to join you, Madam Chairwoman, in the call for the abolition of this very cruel and inhuman punishment, as a gross violation of human rights. And I am proud to cosponsor this with you.
Ms. Ros-LEHTINEN. Thank you, very much, Joe. Mr. Ballenger?
Mr. BALLENGER. I would just like to reiterate the previous speaker. Obviously, things like this should never be allowed and it is our responsibility to do what we can to protect people in situations like that.
Ms. Ros-LEHTINEN. Thank you, very much. I have an amendment in the nature of a substitute at the desk, with without objection will be considered as read. And the substitute, worked out with our Ranking Member Ms. McKinney, is primarily technical in nature. It does have an additional whereas clause, to include statements from Amnesty International, regarding stoning; an additional whereas clause to cover the use of stoning to suppress religious freedom and political dissent; an additional whereas clause that addresses the actions by some government to commute stoning sentences; and a new resolved clause to go beyond, as I said in my statement, the Nigerian cases and covering stoning laws in other pertinent countries. The authors support and the language was worked out with Full Committee Majority and Minority Members and with the Subcommittee Ranking Member, Ms. McKinney.
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