Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, issued this statement following the killing of American journalist James Foley: “I am deeply saddened and angered by ISIS’ barbaric killing of American journalist James Foley, who risked his life to bring the truth to the world. My thoughts and prayers are with his family. ISIS is a profound threat to humanity as it brutally targets the most vulnerable. We must get serious about confronting this force, including by aggressively arming those battling it. My thoughts and prayers are also with Steven Sotloff and his parents, who I know have been working tirelessly to secure the release of their captured son.”
Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, issued the following statement on reported threats of Afghan officials seizing power: “We should not support any extra-constitutional power grab in Afghanistan, especially from members of the Karzai clique. The only acceptable path to power is through the vote of the Afghan people, and I fully support the U.N.-backed audit process to determine the next legitimate president. Although the candidates must still work together and forge a national unity government, it would be foolish to ditch the democratic progress Afghanistan has made. Afghanistan cannot afford to revert to political infighting that would threaten international support and potentially lead to civil war.”
Washington, D.C. – Last evening, U.S. Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, sent a letter to United Nations Ambassador Samantha Power, urging the United Nations Security Council to swiftly impose sanctions against both sides of the conflict hindering the peace process in South Sudan. In the letter to Ambassador Power, Chairman Royce wrote: “The United Nations Security Council must expeditiously impose stringent sanctions against senior members from the government and opposition in South Sudan to send a clear message that the international community will not tolerate violations of the cessation of hostilities and the derailing of the May 9th Agreement. A U.N. sanction regime would complement the Administration’s effort and place additional pressure on both sides of the conflict to change course. Sudanese leaders must know they will be held accountable for gross human rights violations. Additionally, the Security Council should impose a comprehensive arms embargo on South Sudan. Weapons that enter the country only increase the likelihood of atrocities against civilians. Each day that passes without strong actions from the international community is another day innocent southern Sudanese are at greater risk of a cruel death and possible starvation.” Earlier this year, Chairman Royce convened a hearing to examine the situation in South Sudan. In December, Chairman Royce and other congressional leaders, in a letter to South Sudan President Kiir, called for an end to the hostilities. The signed letter is available HERE. The text of the letter follows: August 18, 2014 The Honorable Samantha Power U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations U.S. Mission to the United Nations 799 United Nations Plaza New York, NY 10017 Dear Ambassador Power: I am writing in regards to the ongoing violence and the abysmal humanitarian conditions in South Sudan. I urge that the United Nations Security Council swiftly impose robust sanctions against senior members on both sides of the conflict who are hindering the peace process and bear responsibility for human rights abuses. Thank you for your leadership on this critical issue. As you know, an estimated 10,000 people have been killed and more than 1.1 million have been displaced during the nearly eight months of fighting. A severe man-made humanitarian crisis, including a grave risk of famine, looms over the people of South Sudan for no fault of their own. Political and military leadership of both the Republic of the South Sudan and the Sudan’s People Liberation Movement/Army In-Opposition have shown complete disregard for the well-being of southern Sudanese. Tragically, each party has placed its personal interests and gains over the life-saving needs of those in South Sudan. The United Nations Security Council must expeditiously impose stringent sanctions against senior members from the government and opposition in South Sudan to send a clear message that the international community will not tolerate violations of the cessation of hostilities and the derailing of the May 9th Agreement. A U.N. sanction regime would complement the Administration’s effort and place additional pressure on both sides of the conflict to change course. Sudanese leaders must know they will be held accountable for gross human rights violations. Additionally, the Security Council should impose a comprehensive arms embargo on South Sudan. Weapons that enter the country only increase the likelihood of atrocities against civilians. Each day that passes without strong actions from the international community is another day innocent southern Sudanese are at greater risk of a cruel death and possible starvation. Your recent emergency visit to Juba with other Security Council members delivered a strong message regarding the imperative of reconciliation to failing Sudanese leaders. The statement by the Security Council was powerful, and should be heeded. I too recently met with President Kiir during the African Leaders Summit and delivered a similarly stern message. When faced with possible war crimes, we cannot hesitate to act. I appreciate your attention to this important matter and look forward to the day the people of South Sudan can enjoy the peace and prosperity envisioned with their independence three years ago. Sincerely, EDWARD R. ROYCE Chairman
Washington, D.C. – Last year, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) suspended issuing exit permits for internationally adopted children, including medically fragile children. Hundreds of adoptive families have been impacted by the suspension in the United States. Last week, Benjamin Chase Dillow, a critically ill Congolese child died while waiting for an exit visa to be united with his parents in America. Following a call to the Dillows to express his condolences over this tragedy, U.S. Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, reiterated his commitment to unite adopted Congolese children with their American parents.
During the recent U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, Chairman Royce met with and pressed Congolese President Joseph Kabila on the suspension of exit permits. He highlighted the urgency of the medically fragile cases, including the death of Benjamin Dillow.
Chairman Royce said: “The orphans in Congo face severe deprivation. Despite having loving homes and parents who are legal guardians under Congolese law, these children, some critically ill, are forced to wait in orphanages for months. The Congolese government must allow these children to make their way to the homes anxiously awaiting their arrival -- anything less is inhumane. I urge the officials in Kinshasa to act and ensure that Ben’s tragic death was not in vain. I will continue to press this issue so that these children are finally allowed to go home with their families.”
NOTE: Last month, the House of Representatives passed H. Res. 588, which urges the government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to resume international adoptions. In June, Chairman Royce met with over 50 families adopting from the DRC who are directly impacted by the current suspension of exit permits. The meeting followed a letter Chairman Royce and 167 Members of Congress sent Congolese President Joseph Kabila and Prime Minister Augustin Motata Manyo urging them to issue exit letters for the stalled adoption cases.
Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, issued the following statement on the situation in Iraq: “Putting U.S. troops back on the ground in Iraq is not an option, but there is a clear humanitarian crisis, with ISIS committing mass murder against Christians, Kurds, and other religious minorities. It is tragic that the President did not act earlier, when I suggested he use armed drones to prevent many of these atrocities. Now it’s a tougher challenge, with limited options such as air strikes, to prevent the slaughter of these innocent people.”
Chairman Royce Statement
Washington, D.C. – Today at 2 p.m., the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations, chaired by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), will convene a hearing to examine current international efforts to combat the current Ebola outbreak. The hearing is entitled “Combating the Ebola Threat.” Live webcast of the hearing, as well as witness testimony, will be available HERE. Below is Chairman Royce’s statement to be submitted for the record at the hearing: I want to thank Chairman Smith for convening this hearing, which will address ongoing efforts to track, contain, and combat Ebola. The House is not in session this week, but given the extraordinary circumstances of the outbreak in West Africa, this hearing is absolutely warranted. As our witnesses will attest, Ebola is a rare but deadly communicable disease. Prior outbreaks occurred mainly in Central Africa and, while tragic, were relatively brief and limited in scale. That is what makes this outbreak in West Africa so alarming. Whereas 425 people reportedly were infected and 224 people died during the 2000-2001 outbreak in Uganda, over 1,600 cases and nearly 900 deaths have been reported in West Africa. It has been six months since the first case was detected, and the rate of new infections appears to be accelerating. Stigma and fear are making it difficult to trace transmission. Moreover, the communities being impacted are highly mobile. As a result, we are seeing cases of transmission in Lagos, Nigeria and, perhaps, as far as Saudi Arabia. According to the director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO), Margaret Chan, “If the situation continues to deteriorate, the consequences can be catastrophic in terms of lost lives but also severe socioeconomic disruption and a high risk of spread to other countries.” Clearly, Ebola presents a transnational threat that must be urgently addressed. What is different about this outbreak? Why is it so virulent? Has there been a change in the epidemiology of the virus? If not, is it spreading because affected communities don’t have the necessary information or capacity to deal with it? If it is a capacity issue, what can the international community do to help? What measures have the governments of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone put in place to contain the outbreak? What more could they do? What is the role of the World Health Organization, donors, and the United States Government? Is there a role to be played by experts from Central Africa who have experience in dealing with Ebola? And how can we better communicate so that people can get the information they need to help detect, contain, and deter infections while avoiding mass panic? On this last point, I also would like to get better clarity on how the Embassies are communicating with American citizens in Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone. Have warden messages been sent out? Are the Embassies being responsive to inquiries and requests for assistance? I have spoken directly to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who is appealing to the United States to stand by our regional friend and ally in this time of crisis. I have assured her that we will. We also stand by the selfless health professionals and humanitarians who are responding to the outbreak. We will hear today from two organizations that have been on the front lines. Each has paid a hefty price. They deserve our recognition and appreciation. I was pleased by the announcement on Tuesday that the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will soon make additional resources available, including the deployment of a Disaster Assistance Response Team to coordinate the U.S. Government response. This comes on top of the deployment of 50 technical experts from CDC to the region. I expect that the Economic Community of West African States, the African Union, the United Nations, and others will also step up to the plate to combat the Ebola threat. I thank the witnesses for appearing today. I look forward to working with the Administration, our partners in West Africa, and international community to ensure that we are able to detect, deter, and contain the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, while simultaneously improving systems to prevent future outbreaks.
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This op-ed by Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, was published this afternoon at CNN.com. The op-ed discusses the ongoing U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit and its lack of attention to the important issue of governance. Chairman Royce writes, “Yet, of the 53 hours of official meetings scheduled for the Summit, only two are dedicated to the critical issue of governance. That is scant treatment for what is perhaps the greatest impediment to security and economic growth in Africa. It also sends the wrong message about our shared priorities and values.”What's missing from the Africa summit
By Ed Royce Wed August 6, 2014http://www.cnn.com/2014/08/06/opinion/royce-africa-summit/index.html (CNN) -- Words like "landmark" and "historic" are being used to describe this week's U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit. More than 40 heads of state, the President, dozens of American CEOs, celebrities, activists and several members of Congress -- myself included -- are participating in the three-day event. Every issue affecting the continent, from combating wildlife trafficking to food security, is on the agenda. Yet, of the 53 hours of official meetings scheduled for the summit, only two are dedicated to the critical issue of governance. That is scant treatment for what is perhaps the greatest impediment to security and economic growth in Africa. It also sends the wrong message about our shared priorities and values. In Africa, electing fresh, new leaders is not something people do often. Consider this: The 10 current longest-serving African leaders have held their offices for a total of 252 years. Three of these leaders (Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, Isaias Afwerki of Eritrea, and Omar el-Bashir of Sudan) have not been invited to the summit because they are in poor standing with the United States. Of those receiving an invite, Rwanda's Paul Kagame and Uganda's Yoweri Museveni were unwisely hailed as "new African leaders" during the Clinton administration, while others came to power when Jimmy Carter was in the Oval Office. Needless to say, presidents serving in their 25th year generally don't promote free and fair elections and good governance. Elections are a pillar of democracy and good governance. When conducted freely, fairly and regularly, they give citizens their most effective tool for holding their leaders accountable and pressing policy makers for action and reform. In fact, the World Bank has shown that political competition, primarily through elections, is associated with improvements to a country's business environment. Not only do elections bolster economies, they can improve security. Take, for example, Liberia. Decades of protracted conflict and a deadly civil war resulted from corruption and massive human rights abuses by war criminal Charles Taylor, along with the political exclusion of whole swaths of the country's populace. But inclusive and democratic elections in 2006 brought to power Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Africa's first elected female head of state. Now, Liberia is experiencing a much-needed period of political reconciliation and improved security. While Liberians certainly still face a number of challenges -- including the recent Ebola outbreak -- inclusive elections have proven to be a stabilizing force in West Africa. Despite the overstay of too many African leaders, there are reasons for hope. Eleven African countries are planning to hold elections next year, and 15 more countries have an election scheduled for 2016. In the next two years, more than half the leaders in sub-Saharan Africa are slated to stand for re-election. Each election day in these countries over the next two years will be a defining moment for the future of governance across the continent. The United States cannot be absent during this critical transition. We should support programs that improve the transparency of elections and encourage the peaceful transfer of power, which, unfortunately, far too many Africans have yet to see. Most importantly, the United States should push back on those leaders who seek to amend their constitutions to create imperial, indefinite presidencies. Two leaders most recently accused of seeking such constitutional changes -- Joseph Kabila of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Blaise Compaore of Burkina Faso -- are in town for the Summit. Allowing them to return home without pressing for free, fair and regular elections would be an affront to the citizens of these two countries. President Obama once pressed for good governance aggressively. In 2009, when he traveled to Ghana and addressed that country's parliament, he took a "no excuses" approach toward African leaders. In an interview just before landing on the continent, the President noted that, "I'm a big believer that Africans are responsible for Africa ... for many years we've made excuses about corruption or poor governance; that this was somehow the consequence of neo-colonialism, or the West has been oppressive, or racism. I'm not a believer in excuses. ... I think that it's very important for African leadership to take responsibility and be held accountable." Nice words, unfortunately undermined by a summit agenda that shorts good governance. Editor's note: Rep. Ed Royce, R-California, is chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Royce served on the Africa Subcommittee for 16 years and was chairman of the Subcommittee from 1997-2004. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.
Washington, D.C. – Today, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez (D-NJ), House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA), and Senate Foreign Relations Africa Subcommittee Chairman Chris Coons (D-DE) met with President of the Democratic Republic of Congo Joseph Kabila. Menendez, Royce, and Coons issued the following joint statement after the meeting:
“We look forward to a time when a lasting peace and the opportunity for prosperity is a reality for all Congolese citizens and for the Great Lakes region.” The Chairmen and the President discussed the longstanding conflict in eastern Congo and a sustainable path forward to peace for local communities, including vital efforts to disarm and demobilize rebel groups. The Chairmen urged the President to fully carry out actions agreed to in the February 2013 Framework Agreement, including deepening security sector reform and progress in decentralization. The Congressional leaders also vigorously pressed President Kabila to lift the current suspension of exit permits for adoptive children, which is impacting hundreds of American families, while stressing the urgency of the medically critical cases. Earlier this week, one young child with health issues awaiting an exit visa from the DRC tragically passed away. Additionally, they discussed the DRC lending its expertise to the West African countries confronting the current ebola crisis, given Congo’s past experience with the disease. The Chairmen raised the issue of good governance and the importance of respecting presidential terms limits as outlined in the constitution. The group also discussed the DRC’s energy shortfall, a major impediment to economic growth. The Chairmen noted that they would continue to work to send to President Obama’s desk legislation that encourages private investment to help improve energy access and provide the energy needed for robust economic growth.Read More
Washington, D.C. – Today, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) met with President of South Sudan Salva Kiir.
Menendez and Royce issued the following joint statement after the meeting:
“We are gravely concerned by the continuing crisis in the world’s newest nation, where over a million people are displaced and a man-made famine looms. We are deeply disappointed by South Sudan’s terrible slide backwards into violence and hunger, and stand in solidarity with the South Sudanese people, whose lives now depend upon constructive actions from their political leaders.”
The Congressional leaders called on both parties to the conflict – President Kiir and opposition leader Riek Machar – to recommit themselves to a lasting peace. Specifically, the Chairmen urged Kiir to immediately halt all military operations in his nation and uphold the cessation of hostilities agreement, ensure unfettered humanitarian access for the United Nations mission and aid organizations, and fully commit to ongoing negotiations convened by the International Governmental Authority on Development. The Chairmen pressed for Kiir to lead the effort to reach agreement for a transitional government by the August 10 deadline and to establish credible accountability measures for those who have committed atrocities, so that national healing might begin. The Chairmen were united in their message that South Sudan’s leaders must take immediate steps to reverse their nation’s devastating trajectory, and that the United States would support increased punitive costs on those that further obstruct the peace process.Read More
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