Committee on Foreign Affairs

Ed Royce

Chairman Royce to Deliver Weekly Republican Address

2015/08/28

Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, will deliver the Weekly Republican Address on Saturday, August 29.  Royce, the author of legislation to prevent the implementation of the Iran deal, will discuss the president’s agreement with Iran and its negative consequences for our national security.

Chairman Royce said: "Stopping Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon is one of the biggest national security challenges we face.  Unfortunately, the President's Iran agreement is fundamentally flawed, and makes this dire threat more likely - not less.  I look forward to sharing with Americans the troubling aspects of this agreement as the House and Senate get set for a vote in September."   Rep. Royce became chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee in January 2013.  Learn more by visiting the committee’s official website or by following the committee on Facebook and Twitter.   The Weekly Republican Address will be available nationwide starting Saturday, August 29 at 6:00 am ET on Speaker.gov and GOP.gov.

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Chairman Royce Reacts as IAEA Board Meets to Discuss Iran

2015/08/25

Secret Parchin Pact should be released, says Foreign Affairs Chairman again

U.S. Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, issued the following statement after the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency met to discuss verification of the Iran nuclear agreement.  Today’s meeting, held in Vienna, came after the Associated Press reported last week that a side arrangement agreed to by Tehran and the IAEA would allow Iran - instead of international inspectors - to physically carry out the inspection work at a key Iranian military site, long suspected of nuclear bomb work. 

Today, the head of the IAEA characterized the arrangement with Iran as “technically sound and consistent with IAEA established safeguards practices.”  Obama Administration officials have described the arrangement between the IAEA and Iran as a routine technical agreement. 

Chairman Royce responded: “From what we can tell, this inspection arrangement with Iran is far from established practice.  It is far from routine, as the Obama Administration claims.  And it is very far from what we should find acceptable in an agreement so central to our security.  There is only one sure way to resolve this dispute.  Prove it.  The Obama Administration, working with the IAEA and the other parties to this agreement, should release all the details of this inspection document. 

“Earlier this month, a State Department official testified that the IAEA could adequately inspect this Iranian military base even if its inspectors weren’t physically on site.  Why are we bending over backwards for Tehran?  The burden of proof should be on the country that has lied about and hidden its nuclear program for years. 

“Members of Congress have called for the release of this side arrangement.  But everyone who has signed this deal has incentive to hide it.  The Obama Administration and its negotiating partners don’t want to air the facts.   

“And for the Iranians – the secret Parchin pact sets a precedent.  Whatever access was agreed to for Parchin will likely become the starting point for negotiations with the IAEA over future suspicious locations.  Do we expect any fewer Iranian demands?  Having caved today, will the Obama Administration show resolve tomorrow?   

“The danger is that these ‘side deals’ today help define and undermine the agreement’s verification provisions tomorrow.”

Note:  Earlier this month, Chairman Royce sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry to express his deep concern with the “separate arrangements” established between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) regarding Iran’s past bomb work and access to the Iranian military base at Parchin.  In the letter to Secretary Kerry, Chairman Royce warned that Iran will almost certainly treat the secret arrangements reached with the IAEA as setting a precedent for future inspections of suspicious Iranian sites.  

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Foreign Affairs Committee Convenes Field Hearing Today on Property Rights in Southeast Asia

2015/08/21

Chairman Royce Opening Statement

Today at 10 a.m. PT in Southern California, the Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific will convene a field hearing to examine the impact of land grabbing in Southeast Asia.  The hearing, entitled “Property Rights and Development in Southeast Asia,” will be held in the Bronco Student Center on the campus of California State Polytechnic University, Pomona.  The hearing webcast, along with witness testimony, will be available HERE.

Below is Chairman Royce’s opening statement as prepared for delivery at the hearing:

Thank you Chairman Salmon for convening this important hearing. I’m delighted to be back at Cal Poly Pomona University, which has graciously hosted us in the past, to look at how best to promote property rights and fight “land grabbing” in the Philippines, Cambodia, and elsewhere in Southeast Asia.

We have been working very closely with President Aquino’s government to respond to the devastation of Tacloban and to reform the government.  However, at some local government levels, the legacy of Marcos still remains. For years, the United States has sought to spur economic growth in Cambodia and the Philippines.  This is good for these countries, and us.  We have had some success.  But as we aim to deepen our engagement and transform our aid so that it supports sustainable, market-based economic growth, we must consider whether the underlying conditions exist to realize that growth.  In countries where citizens are denied basic protections under the law, including the right to secure property, those conditions simply do not exist.

These are the issues we will be discussing today, and I am encouraged to learn that the U.S. Agency for International Development has come to a similar conclusion: it is launching a program to support rule-based land reform in the Philippines.  These efforts need to be expanded more broadly across Southeast Asia.

Consider Cambodia, where according to some reports, over half of landholdings are held informally, without any legal title.  As the Cambodian economy has developed, many Cambodians have been displaced. Government cronies and domestic and foreign businesses are responsible for seizing land.  The government has appropriated land and homes, sometimes forcibly, for agricultural, mining, logging, and tourism.  According to testimony I request be submitted for the record, the Cambodian government of Hun Sen maintains its political and economic power “through the control and harsh repression of anyone who stands in the way of their economic enrichment and political control, and anyone criticizing their policies and actions.”  Jamie Meach, who wrote those words, is suffering, as is her husband, Meach Sovannara, who is unjustly imprisoned in Cambodia for peacefully opposing this tyranny.  

According to the Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights, three-fifths of arable land in Cambodia is controlled by foreign agribusiness companies. Foreign investment can be very beneficial, but only if it is made above-board.  Critics point out that large plantations fail to provide stable employment or adequate income for local residents who formerly farmed their land.

In the Philippines, land ownership is informal and narrowly distributed among local elites and clans.  Tens of millions of Filipinos work as leaseholders or rent-paying sharecroppers. Outdated land administration laws and an inefficient land administration system have resulted in fraudulent, overlapping, and duplicative land titles --and widespread land-grabbing. The perpetrators are local politicians foreign investors and well connected people in the Philippines. Besides insecure land rights, over 12 million families in the Philippines reportedly do not own the rights to their own homes with respect to verifiable land title. So there is a desperate need for proper titling, which would unlock vast wealth for Filipinos, as noted Peruvian economist Hernando de Soto has told this Committee.  President Benigno Aquino III has made considerable efforts to reform and clean up politics in the Philippines, but his few years in office cannot undo the years of damage done by President Marcos and the legacy he left at some of the local communities.

Last February, I led a bipartisan Congressional delegation to the Philippines, where we were able to observe the destruction done by Typhoon Yolanda.  I was glad to see such a strong U.S. humanitarian effort.  In the aftermath of natural disasters like this, on top of losing their homes and belongings, victims can also find themselves without a shred of proof of their rights to their property. On a previous delegation to the Philippines I was personally prevented, at gunpoint, from accessing the property of a constituent by what appeared to be local security forces. In my meeting with President Aquino, I pressed him on the importance of protecting property rights.  Filipinos, as well as Cambodians, have great economic potential we should be working to unlock.

Today we will hear from several victims of land grabbing. Because property rights are essential to stability and economic growth, we must­­ do all we can to encourage nations to offer these protections to their citizens.  This would dramatically improve the lives of Filipinos, Cambodians and others in Asia, while improving our economic well-being and security.

Thank you Chairman Salmon.

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Subcommittee Field Hearing: Property Rights and Development in Southeast Asia

2015/08/21

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Chairman Royce Reacts to Associated Press release of Iran/IAEA Secret Side Agreement

2015/08/20

U.S. Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, issued the following statement after the Associated Press released text of a draft agreement between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) covering inspections at the Parchin military site, long suspected of being involved in Iran’s past bomb work.  For weeks, Congress has been seeking access to this document. 

Chairman Royce said: “It is too bad we have to rely on news services instead of the Administration to provide Congress with key text agreed to between Iran and the IAEA.  Congress has been asking for this secret deal for weeks.  The agreement looks like Iran calls the shots, vetoing technical inspections when they want, where they want at the Parchin military site.  The Obama Administration has confidence in this?  This side deal today will help define and undermine the overall agreement’s verification provisions tomorrow.  Everyone who signed this deal has worked to hide the side agreement.  We are starting to see why.”

Note:  Earlier this month, Chairman Royce sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry to express his deep concern with the “separate arrangements” established between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) regarding Iran’s past bomb work and access to the Iranian military base at Parchin.  In the letter to Secretary Kerry, Chairman Royce warned that Iran will almost certainly treat the secret arrangements reached with the IAEA as setting a precedent for future inspections of suspicious Iranian sites. 

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Chairman Royce, Subcommittee Chairman Salmon to Convene Southern California Field Hearing on Property Rights in Southeast Asia — Tomorrow

2015/08/20

Tomorrow in Southern California, the Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific will convene a field hearing to examine the impact of land grabbing in Southeast Asia.  The hearing, entitled “Property Rights and Development in Southeast Asia,” will begin at 10 a.m. PT in the Bronco Student Center on the campus of California State Polytechnic University, Pomona.

Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said: “For years, the United States has sought to help promote security and economic growth in the Philippines and Cambodia.  While there have been some successes, many citizens in Southeast Asia are still denied basic protections under the law – including the right to secure property, raise capital, and participate freely in the economy.  This field hearing will seek to address these continuing concerns by hearing from witnesses who have long studied how land grabbing has significantly impacted the lives of Filipinos and Cambodians, as well as U.S. officials charged with promoting development in these important countries.”

Rep. Matt Salmon (R-AZ), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific, said: “We convene this hearing to explore land tenure, property rights, and the rule of law in Southeast Asia. In order to better serve our citizens and protect their rights abroad, I look forward to hearing from our Administration and private panel for their perspectives on how we can best work with governments in Southeast Asia to improve rule of law, accountability, and transparency."

What:Subcommittee Field Hearing: “Property Rights and Development in Southeast Asia”

Where: California State Polytechnic University, Pomona Bronco Student Center 3801 West Temple Avenue Pomona, CA 91768

For a campus map and parking information click HERE.

When: Friday, August 21 at 10:00 a.m. PT

Witnesses:

Panel I The Honorable Jonathan Stivers Assistant Administrator Bureau for Asia U.S. Agency for International Development

Mr. James Carouso Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs U.S. Department of State

Panel II Mr. Joey Quinto Publisher California Journal for Filipino Americans

Mr. Richard J. Rogers Partner Global Diligence LLP (Attorney representing Cambodian victims before the International Criminal Court)

Ms. Faith Bautista President and Chief Executive Officer National Asian American Coalition

Mr. Zosimo Laurel Contreras (Litigant in Philippines property dispute)

*** The hearing will be webcast live HERE.

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Chairman Royce Statement on Associated Press report that Iran will be Allowed to Inspect Itself

2015/08/19

Today, U.S. Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, issued the following statement on news that an Iran nuclear agreement side deal between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) would allow Iran, instead of international inspectors, to police its own nuclear arms development sites:

“International inspections should be done by international inspectors.  Period.  The standard of ‘anywhere, anytime’ inspections – so critical to a viable agreement – has dropped to ‘when Iran wants, where Iran wants, on Iran’s terms.’  For weeks, Congress has been demanding access to this document to assess the viability of the inspections measures.  Congress must now consider whether this unprecedented arrangement will keep Iran from cheating.  This is a dangerous farce.”

Note:  Earlier this month, Chairman Royce sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry to express his deep concern with the “separate arrangements” established between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) regarding Iran’s past bomb work and access to the Iranian military base at Parchin.  In the letter to Secretary Kerry, Chairman Royce warned that Iran will almost certainly treat the secret arrangements reached with the IAEA as setting a precedent for future inspections of suspicious Iranian sites.  

Also earlier this month, Chairman Royce introduced H.J.Res. 64, legislation that would prevent the implementation of the Obama Administration’s nuclear agreement with Iran.

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A Look Ahead—Week of August 17- 21

2015/08/14

Today, U.S. Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, announced the following upcoming Committee events:

Friday, August 21

Subcommittee Field Hearing: Property Rights and Development in Southeast Asia

10 a.m. PT on Friday, August 21 at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona’s Bronco Student Center in Pomona, California

Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific Rep. Matt Salmon (R-AZ), Chairman

Invited Witnesses Include:

Panel I The Honorable Jonathan Stivers Assistant Administrator Bureau for Asia U.S. Agency for International Development

Mr. James Carouso Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs U.S. Department of State

Panel II Mr. Joey Quinto Publisher California Journal for Filipino Americans

Mr. Richard J. Rogers Partner Global Diligence LLP (Attorney representing Cambodian victims before the International Criminal Court)

Ms. Faith Bautista President and Chief Executive Officer National Asian American Coalition

Mr. Zosimo Laurel Contreras (Litigant in Philippines property dispute)

Chairman Royce on the hearing: “For years, the United States has sought to help promote security and economic growth in the Philippines and Cambodia.  While there have been some successes, many citizens in Southeast Asia are still denied basic protections under the law – including the right to secure property, raise capital, and participate freely in the economy.  This field hearing will seek to address these continuing concerns by hearing from witnesses who have long studied how land grabbing has significantly impacted the lives of Filipinos and Cambodians, as well as U.S. officials charged with promoting development in these important countries.”

Chairman Salmon on the hearing: “We convene this hearing to explore land tenure, property rights, and the rule of law in Southeast Asia. In order to better serve our citizens and protect their rights abroad, I look forward to hearing from our Administration and private panel for their perspectives on how we can best work with governments in Southeast Asia to improve rule of law, accountability, and transparency."

 

***See www.foreignaffairs.house.gov for updates.

*** The hearing will be webcast live HERE.

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Chairman Royce Comments as Cuban Civil Society Shut Out of U.S. Embassy Ceremony

2015/08/14

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, issued this statement following the ceremonial opening of the U.S. Embassy in Havana.  Cuban dissidents were not invited by the U.S. State Department to the event, attended by Secretary of State John Kerry.

“The flag raised over the US embassy in Havana stands for freedom and democracy.  Cubans struggling against the Castro regime for the ideals behind the Stars and Stripes - freedom of speech, assembly, and other basic rights - deserved to see the flag hoisted.  Why are these brave Cubans being kept out of sight?  The U.S. flag was raised today, but the Obama Administration again lowered expectations that it will seriously push the Castro brothers on human rights.”

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Chairman Royce, Ranking Member Engel Urge Treasury Department to Address Escalating Human Rights Abuses in Burma

2015/08/12

“Burmese government’s horrific treatment of the Rohingya Muslim minority, in particular, demands a strong U.S. response”

U.S. Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and U.S. Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), the Committee’s Ranking Member, sent a letter to the Secretary of the Treasury Jacob Lew urging the Obama Administration to impose sanctions on those responsible for the increasing human rights abuses against Rohingya Muslims and others in Burma, where thousands have been displaced or disenfranchised.

In the letter to Treasury Secretary Lew, Royce and Engel write: “As you know, President Obama signed Executive Order 13619 in 2012 to hold those who are responsible for human rights violations in Burma accountable. … Mr. Secretary, we urge you to use this important tool to respond to human rights abuses in Burma. The failure to do so undermines U.S. policy of promoting democratic reforms and human rights. It is imperative that we employ whatever tools are available to address these conditions and the government of Burma’s role in fueling them.”

The signed letter is available HERE.

The text of the letter follows:

August 11, 2015

The Honorable Jacob Lew Secretary of the Treasury U.S. Department of the Treasury 1500 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington, D.C. 20220

Dear Mr. Secretary:

We are writing to request that you use existing authorities to respond to the continued escalation of human rights abuses in Burma. The Burmese government’s horrific treatment of the Rohingya Muslim minority, in particular, demands a strong U.S. response.

Since 2012, the persecution of the Rohingya at the hands of national and regional government authorities and local actors in western Burma’s Rakhine State has displaced or disenfranchised tens of thousands of people.  Many of these individuals are rendered “stateless” by current Burmese government policy, and even those who gain full or naturalized citizenship still lack basic freedoms, including freedom of movement or the ability to access government permits that are essential to their livelihood.

As a result, thousands of men, women, and children have fled by sea with hundreds dying when their boats were abandoned by their human smugglers and traffickers.  These abuses and systematic government policies of persecution have led United to End Genocide and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum to warn about a high risk of further atrocities, even genocide.

As you know, President Obama signed Executive Order 13619 in 2012 to hold those who are responsible for human rights violations in Burma accountable. The order allows the Administration to add those responsible for or complicit in human rights abuses in Burma to a Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) list and to impose sanctions. Despite the continued escalation of human rights abuses in Burma since the order was signed, only one individual has been added to the Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) list. It is important to take appropriate action in response to human rights abuses: these human rights abusers should have their bank accounts and other financial assets frozen.

Mr. Secretary, we urge you to use this important tool to respond to human rights abuses in Burma. The failure to do so undermines U.S. policy of promoting democratic reforms and human rights. It is imperative that we employ whatever tools are available to address these conditions and the government of Burma’s role in fueling them.

We look forward to your response.

Sincerely,

EDWARD R. ROYCE Chairman

ELIOT L. ENGEL Ranking Member

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