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Whereas Amnesty International has reported that the secu

rity forces of Syria are targeting emerging human rights organizations in Syria in an apparent attempt to intimidate those organizations into ceasing their work in Syria;

Whereas attorneys in Syria working with these Syrian human

rights organizations have reportedly been harassed and persecuted by the government-controlled bar association, which works closely with the ruling Ba'ath Party and the government security forces;

Whereas the criminal law of Syria allows for the acquittal of

an accused rapist if the suspect marries the victim; Whereas the criminal law of Syria provides for reduced sen

tences in cases of "honor” killings;

Whereas the family law of Syria as applied to Muslim women

is governed by Sharia (Islamic) law and is discriminatory in marriage, divorce, and inheritance matters;

Whereas Article 7 of the Universal Declaration of Human

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

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 Human Rights Watch, in its 2003 World Report,

stated that: “Political activists in Lebanon continued to demand the withdrawal of all Syrian forces from the country and organized demonstrations throughout the year, many of which the internal security forces dispersed forcibly";

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Whereas nongovernmental organizations in Lebanon continue

their efforts to discover the fate of the nearly 200 "disappeared” Lebanese citizens believed to have been the victims of arbitrary detention or “disappearance” by the Syrian authorities; and

Whereas Freedom House, in its Special Report to the 59th

Session of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights in 2003, classified Syria as “One of the World's Most Repressive Regimes” for its severe repression of political and civil liberties and its egregious violations of human dignity: Now, therefore, be it

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ther investigate these abuses;

(3) expresses its support for the people of Syria

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in their daily struggle for freedom, respect for

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human rights and civil liberties, democratic 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 of State, acting through the Middle East Partner

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.HCON 363 IH

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ship Initiative (managed by the Department of

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State) and other avenues, to reach out to dissidents,

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human rights activists, and the pro-democracy oppo

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sition in Syria, and to assist them in their efforts;

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(5) urges the adoption and pursuit of these and

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other policies to seek a democratic government in

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Syria that will —

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(A) restore freedom to the people of Syria;

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(B) cease the illegal occupation by Syria of

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(D) live in peace and security with the

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H.L.C.

AMENDMENT IN THE NATURE OF A SUBSTITUTE

TO H. CON. RES, 363

OFFERED BY Ms. Ros-LEHTINEN

Strike the preamble and insert the following:

Whereas the Syrian Arab Republic is governed by an authori

tarian regime which continues to commit serious human rights abuses, including the use of torture and arbitrary arrest and detention;

Whereas the Department of State's Country Reports on

Human Rights Practices for 2003 states that Syria "significantly restricts freedom of speech and of the press”, that "freedom of assembly does not exist under the law", and that "the Government restricted freedom of association";

Whereas Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human

Rights states "Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers."';

Whereas Article 20 of the Universal Declaration of Human

Rights states “Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association."';

Whereas Syria's September 2001 press law permits the gov

ernment to arbitrarily deny or revoke publishing licenses for vague reasons and compels media to submit all material to government censors;

H.L.C.

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

foreigners, expelled two 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 Government 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 “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 Human Rights Watch, in its 2003 World Report,

stated that “political activists in Lebanon continued to demand the withdrawal of all Syrian forces from the country and organized demonstrations throughout the

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