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Whereas Syrian authorities have arrested, or, in the case of

foreigners, expelled journalists for writing critically about Syria's policies;

Whereas Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International

have reported that the security forces of Syria are targeting emerging Syrian human rights organizations, as well as their attorneys, in an apparent attempt to intimidate those organizations;

Whereas, on March 8, 2004, Syrian security forces arrested

more than 30 human rights dissidents and civilians at a sit-in in front of the parliament;

Whereas a United States diplomat who was watching the

peaceful demonstrations was also arrested and held for an hour in what the United States called an unacceptable violation of diplomatic practice and which the United States protested “in the strongest terms”;

Whereas Article 7 of the Universal Declaration of Human

Rights states that “All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law.";

Whereas the criminal law of Syria provides for reduced sen

tences in cases of "honor” killings, and spousal rape is not illegal;

Whereas the infringement by Syria on human rights and civil

liberties extends into the Lebanese Republic, which it continues to occupy in violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions;

Whereas hundreds of Lebanese civilians are believed to have

been killed or “disappeared” by Syrian occupation forces or its secret police;

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Whereas hundreds of Kurdish civilians were injured or killed

in clashes with the Syrian authorities in March 2004 in Qamishli, a city in northeastern Syria, and Syrian security forces arrested and tortured Syrian Kurdish civilians

from the town of Al-Malikiyah on January 9, 2005; Whereas Syrian authorities continue their harassment of

Aktham Naisse, Syria's leading human rights activist, President, and founding member of the Committees for the Defense of Democratic Liberties and Human Rights in Syria, and the 2005 winner of the Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders, one of the most prestigious awards in the global human rights community, by charging him with spreading false information, forming an underground association with links to international human rights groups, and opposing the Baath Party;

Whereas, in November 2004, upon his release from prison,

Kamal Labwani, a 48-year-old physician in Syria, stated that there are at least 400 political prisoners in Syria, 100 of whom have been jailed for at least 20 years;

Whereas Mr. Labwani urged "all defenders of freedom and

human rights, whether individuals, associations, or bodies, or international, Arab, or local organizations to participate with us in this campaign to call for the immediate release of all political prisoners and detainees of

opinion and conscience”; Whereas, in November 2004, Syrian journalist Louai Hussein

was banned from writing by the Syrian Interior Min

istry's political security office; Whereas, in November 2004, the arrest in Germany of a Syr

ian embassy official for espionage and issuing threats

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against the Syrian opposition in Europe is evidence of a campaign reportedly launched by Syrian dictator Bashar Assad, aimed at intimidating the regime's opposition abroad;

Whereas thousands of Syrian citizens, along with their fami

lies, children, and grandchildren, live outside their country in forced exile, solely because of their political views, or because of the views of members of their families; and

Whereas human rights and democracy groups in Syria have

sponsored a petition urging greater freedoms and the release of all political prisoners: Now, therefore, be it

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(3) expresses its support for the people of Syria

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human rights and civil liberties, democratie self-gov

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ernance, and the establishment of the rule of law;

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(4) encourages the President and the Secretary

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of State to reach out to dissidents, human rights ac

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tivists, and the nonviolent democratic opposition in

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Syria, and to assist them in their efforts; and

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(5) urges the adoption and pursuit of these and other policies to seek a democratic government in

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Syria that will

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(A) bring freedom and democracy to the

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people of Syria;

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(B) cease the illegal occupation by Syria of

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the Lebanese Republic;

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(C) abandon support for terrorism;

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(D) not pursue research, development, ac

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will not be undertaken in the future, and will

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(E) live in peace and security with the

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Amend the title so as to read: "A Concurrent Resolution Expressing the grave concern of Congress regarding the continuing gross violations of human rights and

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civil liberties of the Syrian and Lebanese people by the Government of Syrian Arab Republic.".

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