The East African famine, a result of recent disasters both natural and man-made, has wreaked havoc across the region. Government mismanagement and conflicts in the region have only made the problem worse. To investigate the situation, Chairman Chris Smith (NJ-04) will convene a hearing entitled “East Africa’s Quiet Famine” on March 28, 2017, helping to establish what options may be available for the U.S. government to effectively address the growing hunger crisis. Testifying at the hearing will be a government official managing USAID’s response, as well as several civil society leaders from organizations operating humanitarian programs in the region.
“The East Africa famine of 2011 gained significant news coverage and a very active international response,” said Smith. “In contrast, the current East Africa famine has gotten much less obvious news attention despite the fact that at least 16 million people in the region face hunger or even starvation. This hearing is intended to examine the dimensions of the current famine, the reasons why is has become so acute and existing government and civil society efforts to meet the desperate needs.”
Who: Chairman Smith (NJ-04), Senior Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the House Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations; other members of the committee
Mr. Matthew Nims
Office of Food for Peace
Bureau for Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance
U.S. Agency for International Development
Mr. Ken Isaacs
Programs and Government Relations
Mr. Michael Bowers
Humanitarian Leadership and Response
Mr. Thabani Maphosa
Vice-President for Food Assistance
World Vision International
What: House hearing on the famine in East Africa
When: Tuesday, March 28, 2017 2:30 PM
Where: Rayburn House Office Building, Room 2200 (second floor)
Following the arrest in Israel today of an American-Israeli dual national suspected of perpetrating most of the bomb threats to Jewish community institutions in the U.S. and several other countries, Rep. Chris Smith (NJ-04), a long-time leader in the fight against anti-Semitism and Co-Chair of the Bipartisan Task Force for Combating Anti-Semitism, issued the following statement:
“The wave of bomb threats has afflicted Jewish communities for months. I thank the Department of Justice, FBI and law enforcement agencies in Israel and elsewhere for their relentlessness pursuit. If this suspect is guilty, he must be held accountable. Even if there is only one main perpetrator—it remains to be seen whether there are accomplices—who has been responsible for these threatening calls, we must remain vigilant against all threats to Jewish communities, whoever the perpetrators, whatever their motivation.”
Levels of anti-Semitic hate have reached crisis levels in the U.S. and around the globe and perpetrators are increasingly connected to each other across borders. Today, Rep. Chris Smith (NJ-04), Chairman of the House panel on global human rights, held a Congressional hearing to discuss with expert witnesses what can be done to stem this tide.
“The Jewish people have survived and thrived from the times of Biblical antiquity to the present day—quite a feat, when you consider all the civilizations that have come and gone,” said Smith, who held his first hearing on anti-Semitism more than fifteen years ago. “But just as the Jewish people have endured, so has anti-Semitic hatred. This hatred has ranged from private prejudices to the murder of more than six million Jews in the Holocaust. 72 years after the Holocaust ended, anti-Semites continue to target the Jewish people for discrimination, destruction of property and even death.” Click Here to Read Smith’s Full Statement.
Although anti-Semitism, a blight that affects millions across the globe, is not limited to Islamist terrorist groups and overt Neo-Nazis, the general threat of terrorism is the broader context. In 2015, there were 211 terrorist attacks, in six European countries, resulting in 350 injuries and 151 deaths. This is an increase from 201 terrorist attacks in seven European countries in 2014, resulting in six injuries and four deaths. The number of jihadist attacks has increased from two to 17, right-wing extremist from none to nine and other categories such as “leftists” and “anarchists,” held steady.
Many observers have claimed that anti-Israeli rhetoric from European political elites provides an environment conducive to anti-Semitic manifestations and extremist acts. They suggest that some members of the European media and political classes are exhibiting a “new” anti-Semitism, which usually targets Israel in some form, may conflate “Jews” and the policies of the Israeli government and holds Israel to standards not applied to other countries. Although some acknowledge that criticism of Israeli policies is not inherently anti-Semitic, others, such as the New York Times, note that there has also been a greater “blurring of distinctions between being anti-Israel and anti-Jew.”
Nikki Haley, the recently appointed Ambassador to the United Nations, has been a staunch supporter of stopping those who have crossed the line from being against Israeli policy to being anti-Semitic. During the hearing, one witness, Mark Weitzman, praised Haley’s “rigorous pushback” against the long standing tradition of anti-Semitic policies directed at Israel often advanced at the United Nations.
“For as long as I have been a Member of Congress, there has been broad bipartisan support for combating anti-Semitism. We have had success advancing key initiatives at home and abroad because Members of Congress across the political and philosophical spectrum came together and refrained from partisanship. It is my hope that this bipartisan consensus will continue, and that none will seek to score political points to advance a political narrative,” said Smith, who has been a leader in the fight against anti-Semitism since meeting with the “Refuseniks” of the Soviet Union in the early 1980’s as a young Congressman. “Partisanship and politics have no place in this fight. Our effectiveness depends on being able to work together to end this evil and to ensure that Jewish communities around the world are safe and secure.”
Paul Goldenberg, National Director of the Secure Community Network, noted that “extremist groups in the United States are borrowing, adapting and enhancing the tactics and strategies adopted in Europe,” and then reported that nevertheless “after months of enduring 166 bomb threats across over 40 states, Jewish Community Center members, parents and other guests have moved from fear and anxiety to defiant resolve and resilience. They refused to be driven from their schools and community spaces by cowardly acts of intolerance and hatred. In this, the hate and fear that seeks to divide us, has indeed united us even more so.” Click Here to Read Goldenberg’s Full Statement.
Rabbi Andrew Baker, Personal Representative of the OSCE Chair-in-Office on Combating Anti-Semitism and Director of International Jewish Affairs, indicated that while steps have been taken, more must be done, “We were surely helped by the tragic events of terrorist attacks in Paris, Brussels and Copenhagen. No longer were governments able to ignore the situation. They have responded, and that is good news. But problems still remain. Governments have taken different approaches, and some only in stop-gap measures.” Click Here to Read Baker’s Full Statement.
Mark Weitzman, Director of Government Affairs at the Simon Wiesenthal Center, highlighted the importance of bipartisan action against anti-Semitism, saying, “Fighting antisemitism has always been a bipartisan commitment, and in today’s fractured political world it is more necessary than ever that the US maintain its diplomatic and moral leadership in this issue. Indeed, we would strongly suggest that the position even be upgraded, to that of Ambassador, thus demonstrating the importance attached by our government to this issue.” Click Here to Read Weitzman’s Full Statement.
Stacy Burdett, Vice President of Government Relations, Advocacy and Community Engagement at the Anti-Defamation League, expressed concern over an increase in online hate speech and incitement to violence, “A call to kill Jews can be uploaded in the Middle East and watched around the world at any time. Proponents of hate inject anti-Semitic content, inferences and narratives into every platform from @killjews on Twitter, to a Jewish Ritual Murder page on Facebook, to a Jews Did 9/11 video on YouTube to anti-Semitic memes to Stormfront.org, a multilingual racist website which has existed since the dawn of the Internet.” Click Here to Read Burdett’s Full Statement.
Smith has chaired 11 hearings on anti-Semitism, including Congress’s first ever hearing on anti-Semitism. He is also the author of the provisions of the law that created the State Department Office to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism and the Special Envoy to lead it in 2004.
During a series of meetings held over the past several days, Rep. Chris Smith (NJ-04) expressed his deep concern with the Office of Management and Budget’s proposed 2018 Budget Blueprint to Majority Whip Steve Scalise (LA-01), who also represents a district recently ravaged by floods, and Rep. Sean Duffy (WI-07). Smith, who stressed the importance of a fully funded National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) during the meetings, said he appreciated the opportunity to come together and discuss this topic with Scalise and Duffy and that he looks forward to working together as the NFIP reauthorization moves through Committee.
“This Blueprint proposes to strip federal funding from NFIP and increase the costs on vulnerable families and businesses, whose flood insurance premiums are already skyrocketing,” said Smith in a letter handed to the Majority Whip during a meeting. “The Budget proposes eliminating the discretionary appropriation for the NFIP’s Flood Hazard Mapping Program, a cut of $190 million. With National Flood Insurance Policy holders in all 50 states as well as 5 territories and the District of Columbia, this issue truly has a national impact.” Click Here to Read the Letter.
Nationwide, there are over 5 million NFIP policies, 231,000 of which are held by families and businesses in New Jersey. According to FEMA, the average policy holder will pay $878 for flood insurance—costs that are in addition to their standard home owner’s insurance premiums—in 2017, a total that rises to over $1,000 once fees and surcharges included. These rates represent a 9% increase over 2016 rates.
“These rate increases are burdens placed on homeowners above and beyond current premiums and the out-of-pocket amounts that homeowners affected by Superstorm Sandy here in New Jersey, and the ‘1000-year rain’ that took place last year in Louisiana, are still paying,” said Smith, who has been joined by other House Members from the New Jersey delegation in this fight.
Smith also discussed his legislation, the Federal Disaster Assistance Nonprofit Fairness Act, which would help Houses of Worship recover from natural disasters such as floods. FEMA has argued that Houses of Worship are precluded by law from being interpreted as facilities that provide essential services of a governmental nature—a prohibition that does not align with facts on the ground.
“Houses of Worship are usually the first to open their doors to victims of these disasters and the last to turn the lights off during the cleanup efforts,” said Smith. “It is unconscionable that foundational pillars of our communities have been categorically denied access to these otherwise generally-available funds.”
Smith’s bill, originally co-Sponsored by Rep. Grace Meng (NY-06) and Rep. Pete King (NY-02), has previously passed the house 354-72, however was not taken up before the Senate. Smith plans on reintroducing this legislation later this congress.
Last year, former Secretary of State Kerry declared that ISIS is committing genocide against Christians and other religious and ethnic minorities, however the Administration fell short on necessary follow through. Today, Rep. Chris Smith (NJ-04), Chairman of the House panel on global human rights, urged the new Trump Administration to step in and close the gap created by its predecessor.
“Even after acknowledging the genocide, the previous Administration refused to support criminal investigations of perpetrators,” said Smith, author of the bipartisan Iraq and Syria Emergency Genocide Relief and Accountability Act (H.R. 390). “Staff from non-governmental organizations are risking their lives to conduct these investigations. Without our help, evidence that can be used in trials will be lost. Proving these perpetrators are criminals—murderers, child abusers, rapists, slavers, drug dealers and more—will support our efforts to combat support for terrorist groups like ISIS.”
Smith, along with Rep. Sean Duffy (WI-07), Rep. Anna Eshoo (CA-18), Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (NE-01) and Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA), today sent a bipartisan, bicameral letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, requesting an update on actions the U.S. has taken to investigate and hold accountable perpetrators, urging the U.S. to take the lead on related efforts at the U.N. and emphasizing the need to seek justice for all the victims, including Christians. Click Here to Read the Letter.
“President Trump personally committed his Administration to confronting the genocide that ISIS has been committing against Christians and other religious minorities,” said Smith. “Only a few months ago, I met with Christian survivors in Iraq and saw that aid and action is needed, and needed right now. For the previous three years, the United States had abandoned these and the other survivors from religious and ethnic minorities. H.R. 390 is a blueprint for making sure these genocide victims finally get aid from the U.S. and perpetrators are punished.”
At the 2017 National Prayer Breakfast, President Trump stated “We have seen a campaign of ISIS and genocide against Christians…All nations have a moral obligation to speak out against such violence. All nations have a duty to work together to confront it.”
Smith’s legislation, co-led by Eshoo, will direct the U.S. government to:
· Identify threats of persecution and other early warning indicators of genocide, crimes against humanity, or war crimes against Iraqi and Syrian religious or ethnic minorities that ISIS targeted for these crimes, or against other religious or ethnic minorities that are persecuted.
· Provide humanitarian, stabilization, and recovery assistance to these communities, through entities that are effectively assisting them, including faith-based entities.
· Support criminal investigations of perpetrators of genocide, crimes against humanity, or war crimes in Iraq, specifically ones collecting evidence that can be used in criminal trials.
· Review U.S. relevant law and recommend how to close statutory gaps in being able to prosecute in the U.S. American citizens, or foreign nationals who come to the U.S., who have committed these crimes abroad.
The legislation is supported by more than 20 groups, including the Knights of Columbus, Family Research Council, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (Southern Baptist Convention), 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative, In Defense of Christians, ADF International, Baylor University, Open Doors, Chaldean Assyrian Syriac Business Alliance, A Demand for Action, Yezidi Human Rights Organization International, Religious Freedom Institute, Center for Religious Freedom (Hudson Institute), Christian Solidarity Worldwide, Community of Sant'Egidio, International Christian Concern and the Religious Freedom Coalition.
It is also supported by all the former US Ambassadors-at Large for War Crimes, David Scheffer (1997-2001), Pierre Prosper (2001-2005), Clint Williamson (2006-2009) and Stephen Rapp (2009-2015), as well as the Founding Chief Prosecutor of the Special Court for Sierra Leone, David Crane; Director of the Center for Religious Freedom Nina Shea; and the author of Defying ISIS, Rev. Johnnie Moore.
Smith added, “Any legitimate effort to prosecute ISIS for genocide must follow the evidence and include crimes against Christian victims. I urge the Administration to ensure that international prosecution initiatives recognize the genocide against Christians and thereby ensure justice for all victims.”
Smith has held nine related Congressional hearings since 2013 and last December led a mission to Erbil (Kurdistan Region of Iraq) at the invitation of the Chaldean Catholic Archbishop of Erbil, Bashar Warda, to see first-hand the plight of the 70,000 Christians – almost 1/3 of Christians remaining in Iraq – who escaped ISIS and have been sustained by the Archdiocese of Erbil with support from organizations like the Knights of Columbus and without any support so far from the U.S..
With levels of anti-Semitic hate, threats and violence high in many countries, Rep. Chris Smith (NJ-04), Chairman of the House panel on global human rights, announced that he will convene a hearing to examine “Anti-Semitism Across Borders.” Smith authored the provisions of law that created the State Department Office to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism and the Special Envoy to lead it in 2004.
“Anti-Semitism is an ancient and persistent hatred that must be fought until it is defeated. We must be clear-eyed about the problem and relentless with the perpetrators. The witnesses at this hearing will discuss the most urgent threats to Jewish communities, underlying ideological motivations, and make recommendations for what needs to be done,” said Smith.
Who: Chairman Smith (NJ-04), Senior Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the House Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations; other members of the committee
Mr. Paul Goldenberg
Secure Community Network
Rabbi Andrew Baker
Personal Representative of the OSCE Chair-in-Office on Combating Anti-Semitism
Director of International Jewish Affairs
American Jewish Committee
Mr. Mark Weitzman
Director of Government Affairs
Simon Wiesenthal Center
What: House hearing on worldwide anti-Semitism
When: Wednesday, March 22, 2017 10:00 A.M.
Where: Rayburn House Office Building, Room 2172 (first floor)
This afternoon, in front of a large crowd of Ethiopian citizens concerned about repression in their homeland, Rep. Chris Smith (NJ-04) convened a hearing to look at the appalling human rights record of the Ethiopian government and discuss what could be done to help those who are suffering at the hands of this regime.
“According to the State Department’s newly released Human Rights Report on Ethiopia, security forces killed ‘hundreds’ in the context of using excessive force against protestors in 2016,” said Smith, Chairman of the Africa Subcommittee. “In addition, there are at least 10,000 more people held in jail who are considered political prisoners, and the government continues to arrest and imprison critics of its actions. In late February, Ethiopian prosecutors charged Dr. Merera Gudina, chairman of the Oromo Federalist Congress with attempting to ‘disrupt constitutional order.’ He was arrested upon his return to Ethiopia after testifying in November at a European parliament hearing about the crisis in his country.” Click Here to Smith’s Full Statement.
Despite holding regular elections, a tradition of authoritarian rule continues to strangle the advancement of democracy in Ethiopia. Through violence and elections that were deemed “unfair” by U.S. and European monitors, a single party has dominated the legislature for over two decades. The violent crackdown on any opposition intensified in 2015 as protests by the Oromo and Amhara grew, with tens of thousands being arrested and Prime Minister Desalegn announcing that the number of protestors killed “could be more than 500.”
In January, two journalists from the faith-based station Radio Bilal, Khalid Mohamed and Darsema Sori, were sentenced to 5 and 4 year prison terms respectively for “inciting extremist ideology and planning to overthrow the government” through their coverage of Muslim protests about government interference in religious affairs. The journalists were arrested in February 2015 and convicted in December of that year under the 2009 anti-terrorism law alongside 18 other defendants.
“This oppression is preventable,” said Smith. “Rather than spend hundreds of thousands on consultants to try to mislead Members of Congress on the facts and inciting e-mail form letter campaigns by supporters, the Government of Ethiopia can acknowledge their challenges and work with the U.S. government and others in the international community to seek reasonable solutions. We are prepared to help once they are ready to face the ugly truth of what has happened and what continues to happen in Ethiopia today.”
The hearing followed the introduction of House Resolution 128, which offers an outline to bring Ethiopia back onto the path towards democracy. This resolution is designed to promote democracy and good governance in Ethiopia and, among other key provisions, condemns the actions of the Government of Ethiopia and calls on the Secretary of State to improve the oversight and accountability of U.S. assistance in Ethiopia.
Terrence Lyons, Associate Professor at George Mason University, noted the extreme control the regime has over the media: “Following the 2005 elections and subsequent crackdown, the regime successfully expanded and institutionalized its system of authoritarian control, virtually eliminating independent space for opposition political parties, civil society organizations, and non-state media. The EPRDF controls mass organizations for women and youth, humanitarian and development organizations, and large economic enterprises.” Click Here to read Lyons’ Full Statement.
Felix Horne, Senior Researcher for the Horn of Africa at Human Rights Watch said, “The state systematically ensures that many of the country’s 100 million citizens are dependent on the government for their livelihoods, food security and economic future.” Click Here to read Horne’s Full Statement.
The President of the Coalition of Oromo Advocates for Human Rights and Democracy, Seenaa Jimjimo, explained the strife within Ethiopia, “Today…people are afraid to speak and exercise basic rights guaranteed by the constitution. Under the codename of “State of Emergency” a husband watches his wife and daughters get raped, sons taken away or killed. I myself have lived under terror and being watched and beaten by this government.” Click Here to read Jimjimo’s Full Statement.
Tewodrose G. Tirfe, a Board Member at the Amhara Association of America, highlighted the plight faced by the Amhara people, “As stated in the 2007 Ethiopian Census that was released in 2010, the Amhara population was short by 2.5 million. A debate was not even allowed in parliament when this fact was presented. Some estimates have the number now closer to 5 million. We believe there has been a systematic effort by the government to depopulate the Amhara population.” Click Here to read Tirfe’s Full Statement.
Guyaa Abaguya Deki, a Representative for the Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition and a Polio survivor, gave his personal experience with the Ethiopian Government, “They picked me up in a taxi. The driver punched me in my mouth with his pistol, and I lost my two lower teeth. They kept me for three days in solitary confinement in a tiny dark cell. I had to crawl on the ground outside the cell to lift myself up to get to the toilet. And I was only allowed to go to the toilet twice a day. My hands were tied to a chair and my mouth was wrapped up with dirty wet socks.” Click Here to read Deki’s Full Statement.
Deacon Yoseph R. Tafari spoke about the religious persecution going on in Ethiopia, “Ethiopia is ruled by a minority ethnic regime which has brought about highly destructive governance by perpetually marginalizing and terrorizing other ethnic group and religious groups by pitting one against the other.” Click Here to read Tafari’s Full Statement.
Smith has held four hearings on Ethiopia with the first, “Ethiopia and Eritrea: Promoting Stability, Democracy and Human Rights,” was held more than a decade ago in 2005.
U.S. Rep. Chris Smith (NJ-04), co-Chairman of the Congressional Executive Commission on China, delivered the follow remarks this afternoon at the Heritage Foundation:
China’s population control policies are the longest-running and most far-reaching violations of human rights the world has ever seen.
Since 1979—first through the “one-child policy” and now through a “two-child policy”—the government of China has sanctioned state-sponsored violence and massive discrimination against women and children—particularly the girl child.
The Chinese government boasts that four hundred million Chinese children were “prevented” because of its efforts.
Let me put that number into perspective. The total number of people killed by various Communist and Fascists regimes in the 20th Century—Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Castro, and Pol Pot combine—is estimated to be around 100 million. (The Black Book of Communism, S. Courtois, 1997)
How many of these 400 million children of China were “prevented” through coerced abortions or sterilization? How many women were mocked, belittled, humiliated, and even hunted down because they were pregnant with a child the government did not permit?
In China, abortion has been used as a weapon of mass destruction. Hundreds of millions of lives have been exterminated.
So today, as we gather to assess China’s “Two-Child Policy” which replaced the hated “One-Child Policy” last year, we need to ask: has anything really changed?
In the last two years, as Chairman of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, I held ten hearings, three that focused entirely on the consequences of China’s population control policies.
These hearings featured tireless advocates like Reggie Littlejohn and Chai Ling; world-renowned scholars such as Nicholas Eberstadt, Stephan Mosher, and Valerie Hudson; and the blind, self-taught lawyer Chen Guangcheng, who sacrificed so much to expose the brutality of China’s population control policies. He is a true hero. I know of no other person on Earth who has personally suffered so much for attempting to stop this cruelty to women.
The conclusions drawn from those hearings are that the “Two-Child Policy” should not be lauded because it does not change the basic structure of coercive population control in China.
The policy may allow for more births–demographers doubt that Chinese families will create a new baby boom–but the policy still violates international human rights norms.
Women in China still endure coercive pregnancy monitoring, fines, and the immense psychological burden of enforced birth limits. China is the only country in the world where the female suicide rate is higher than the male. Experts differ on the exact number—but estimates say that between 25 and 40 per cent more women kill themselves each year than men.
The new policy does not dismantle the brutal machinery of enforcement nor does it remove the pernicious incentives given to local officials to pressure mothers to abort a child if the birth hasn’t been approved by the state.
Instead of a “Two-Child Policy” maybe we should call the new policy “Coerced Abortion for Child #3 Policy.”
In October of last year the BBC released a report entitled “China’s Forbidden Babies Still An Issue” confirming that under the “Two-Child Policy,” forced abortion remains a threat for women pregnant with a third child.
BBC’s Beijing Correspondent John Sudworth interviewed the father of a family in hiding because his wife has just given birth to their third child. The father told Sudworth, “A third baby is not allowed. If we weren’t in hiding, they would have forced us to have an abortion.”
China’s Family Planning officials readily admit to Sudworth that all women of childbearing age are still required to report for up to two ultrasound examinations every year.
They freely discuss with Sudworth the massive “social compensation” fines levied on families that have a third child—up to ten times the annual average income.
They also admit that that any woman found to be pregnant with a third baby will receive “home visits” with the aim of "persuading" them to have abortions.
Said one official ominously: "If you're reported to us, then we'll find you and we'll persuade you not to give birth to that baby.” Another said more bluntly, "We'll definitely find you and persuade you to do an abortion."
Sudworth says that “where else in the world would you find government officials” admitting to coercing women to have abortions, particularly in a country where “women were kidnapped, drugged and forcibly operated on?”
At the end of the BBC report, Sudworth concludes that China’s population control policies have “bent and blurred the moral lines [so much that] state-sponsored violence seem unexceptional.”
How sad and how true.
I have held approximately 60 hearings that include discussions of China’s population control policies At many of these hearings I met with Chinese women who have been victimized by forced abortion. Their tears and the agony they have suffered still motivates me.
At one congressional hearing I chaired in 2009 for example, a Chinese college student named Wujian said that she was brought to a hospital against her will and testified that…
“as soon as I was taken out of the van, I saw hundreds of pregnant moms there, all of them just like pigs in the slaughterhouse…the room was full of moms who had just gone through a forced abortion. Some moms were crying. Some moms were screaming, and one mom was rolling on the floor in unbearable pain…then it was my turn …it was the end of the world for me…when the surgery was finished, the nurse showed me part of my baby’s bloody foot with her tweezers.”
The Chinese government is not the only one culpable in these heinous crimes experienced by Wujian and so many other women in China.
The U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA) was complicit in China’s population control policies from the beginning. They did not only turn a blind eye to abuses, but helped facilitate and fund them.
The UNFPA funded birth restrictions, funded forced abortions, funded China’s coercive family planning bureaucracy. They also defended China’s actions.
Several years ago, I had a face-to-face meeting in Beijing with Peng Peiyun, the bureaucrat in charge of China’s population program. Madame Peng repeatedly told me that my concerns were unfounded and said proudly that the UNFPA found no coercion whatsoever. What a complete whitewash.
The UNFPA has covered up China’s crimes and continues to do so today despite overwhelming evidence.
The UNFPA justifies its history in China, saying that that their efforts have focused on getting China to adopt a “rights based approach” to family planning and saying they opposed “coercion, violence, forced abortion, and sterilization as a violation of basic human rights.”
Yet, there is no evidence to show their efforts made one bit of difference in changing China’s policies.
There is no evidence that UNFPA officials intervened to stop coercion and violence.
For the past three and half decades, UNFPA funding gave China’s policies an international stamp of approval.
The UNFPA is complicit in China’s coercive population control policies, but so are various U.S. Administrations and others who helped fund the UNFPA programs in China.
It is a dark and bloody stain that cannot be washed or wished away.
Since the early 1980s, I have authored legislation to defund the UNFPA and hold Chinese officials accountable for participating in population control.
In 1984, I authored the first amendment ever to a foreign aid bill to deny funding to organizations such as the UNFPA that are complicit with China’s forced abortion and involuntary sterilization policies. It passed. Jack Kemp and Senator Bob Kasten made it law.
The Kemp-Kasten Amendment today remains part of the foreign operations appropriations law.
Contrary to this law, the Obama Administration turned a blind eye to atrocities being committed in China, even contributing financial support to the UNFPA.
Unlike Presidents Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and George W. Bush, President Obama provided over $227 million in taxpayer funds to the UNFPA.
There is no record to suggest that President Obama or his Administration ever raised the plight of Chinese women facing forced abortions, fines, and routine pregnancy testing.
In contrast to the Obama Administration’s silent acceptance of the coercion, suffering, and death Chinese citizens, I am heartened by the Trump Administration’s early action to reinstate and expand the Mexico City Policy.
The policy prevents foreign nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) from receiving U.S. federal grant money if they perform or actively promote abortion as a method of family planning overseas. It does not impact the level of funding available. Instead, it sets a standard for grantees to meet, requiring US dollars to be used for true humanitarian aid and not to subsidize the international abortion industry. President Trump has taken a courageous and compassionate stand. He has shown a commitment to protect the basic human rights both of mothers and of their unborn children.
There is also little record that the Obama Administration used available sanctions to deny U.S. visas to Chinese government officials or medical personnel complicit in forced abortion and involuntary sterilization.
In 2000, I wrote a law—the Admiral W. Nance and Meg Donovan Foreign Relations Authorization Act that included Section 801—requiring the Secretary of State is deny visas to any foreign national who was directly involved in the establishment or enforcement of foreign abortions.
Owing to a glaring lack of implementation, only a handful of abusers have ever been denied visas. Hopefully, the Trump Administration will do a better job.
The Chinese government says it instituted a “Two-Child Policy” to stem the demographic time bombs of a rapidly aging population, shrinking workforce, and millions of men unable to find wives, but it is increasingly clear the new policy will not solve these problems.
As the Economist has noted, by 2025, nearly 1 in 4 Chinese citizens will be over the age of 60. At the same time, China’s working-age population has shrunk in each of the past three years.
These factors are likely to hurt not only government balance sheets but also economic growth in China. This should be of particular concern to the Chinese Communist Party, as economic growth is the primary source of their ill begotten legitimacy.
The “Two-Child Policy” will do little to address the three-decade decimation of the female population.
By one recent estimate, there are 62 million ‘missing girls’ in China from sex-selective abortion and neglect. (Bongaarts/Guilmoto, “How Many Missing Women?” Population & Development Review, 2015)
China’s “One-Child Policy” and a cultural preference for boys created the conditions for what constitutes a gross human rights abuse—aptly described as gendercide—the extermination of millions of baby girls, just because she is a girl.
62 million is a staggering number. That is the entire population of England or Italy.
62 million missing girls. It is beyond comprehension. All that precious potential. Gone.
One of the many devastating consequences of female gendercide is the historic, unprecedented skewed male/female ratio. Chinese had 113 boys for every 100 girls—far above the natural sex ratio of birth of 105 boys per 100 girls.
Even if the sex ratio at birth were to normalize tomorrow, Catherine Tucker and Jennifer Van Hook, demographers with Pennsylvania State University’s Population Research Institute, calculated that fully 25 percent of working-age men (over 30 million men) in China would still lack a female counterpart in 2050.
The shortage of marriageable women has had other disturbing social implications. Tens of millions of excess men, uninvolved in family life and less tethered to social institutions, have contributed to government leaders’ fears of crime and instability. There has also been a spike in sex trafficking and bride buying. China has become the global magnet for human sex-traffickers.
I am the prime author of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000—and three other anti-human trafficking laws—all of which established bold strategies that include sheltering, asylum and other protections for the victims, long jail sentences and asset confiscation for the traffickers, and tough sanctions for governments that fail to meet standards. I am deeply concerned that unless the Chinese government ends coercive abortion and gendercide, human sex trafficking will exponentially worsen in the foreseeable future.
China needs to recognize that its problem isn’t that it has too many innocent children. The problem is that the blood of innocents stains the hands of too many members of the Chinese Communist Party.
In the long line of Chinese Communist Party mistakes, the brutal enforcement of population control policies is the deadliest and most hated.
The international community, led by the U.S., must insist that China abolish all birth restrictions, dismantle its family planning apparatus, compensate the victims of forced abortions and sterilizations, raise the legal and inheritance status of girls, and permanently close a dark and deadly chapter in Chinese history.
By shining a light on what is happening in China we hope to move toward a world where every woman and girl is valued and deeply respected because of her intrinsic dignity, and where every child is welcomed regardless of his or her sex.
Ethiopia, Africa’s second most populous country and oldest independent state, plays a key leadership role in the region and on the continent. They are an important partner in the War on Terror, but also a source of growing concern over their human rights record. Recently, government forces have killed as many as 100 Oromo demonstrators. Thursday's hearing, announced by Chairman Chris Smith (NJ-04) and entitled “Democracy Under Threat in Ethiopia,” will allow for a discussion of the restrictions of freedom in Ethiopia and coincides with the reintroduction of House Resolution 128.
“Ethiopia has long been an important ally, providing effective peacekeepers and collaborating in the War on Terror,” said Smith. “However, increasingly repressive policies have diminished political space and threaten to radicalize not only the political opposition but also civil society by frustrating their ability to exercise their rights under law. This hearing will examine the current situation in Ethiopia with an eye toward developing policies to help this nation to reverse an increasingly tense situation in the troubled Horn of Africa.”
Chairman Smith (NJ-04), Senior Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the House Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations; other members of the committee
Terrence Lyons, Ph.D.
School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution
George Mason University
Mr. Felix Horne
Horn of Africa
Human Rights Watch
Ms. Seenaa Jimjimo
Coalition of Oromo Advocates for Human Rights and Democracy
Mr. Tewodrose Tirfe
Amhara Association of America
Mr. Guya Abaguya Deki
Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition
Mr. Yoseph Tafari
Ethiopian Drought Relief Aid of Colorado
House hearing on democracy and human rights in Ethiopia
Thursday, March 9, 2017 2:00 P.M.
Rayburn House Office Building, Room 2172 (first floor)
The Congressman spoke to about 35 leaders of the group, including AJC of New Jersey Acting Director Joanna Leiberman, and Lori Feldstein, Central New Jersey president.
Smith recounted his trips to Russia on behalf of Jews suffering religious persecution and his work with Rabbi Andrew Baker, Director of AJC International Jewish Affairs, on anti- Semitism in Europe and on the challenges facing the Jewish communities on the continent. Since 2009 Baker has been the Personal Representative of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) on anti-Semitism, a group Smith works closely with as chairman of the U.S. Commission for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
Smith also spoke with Richard Foltin, Director, National and Legislative Affairs, who has been coordinating AJC’s national policy activities and legislative advocacy since 2009. Richard has testified before Congressional committees and the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights
PHOTO ONE- After his speech, Congressman Smith chats with AJC Central New Jersey President Lori Feldstein and Richard Foltin, AJC Director of National and Legislative Affairs.PHOTO TWO: Pictured from the left are AJC Executive Director David Harris; AJC of New Jersey Acting Director Joanna Leiberman; Central New Jersey President Lori Feldstein; Congressman Smith; and AJC Director of National and Legislative Affairs Richard Foltin.
2373 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Elected in 1980, Rep. Chris Smith (R-Robbinsville, N.J.) is currently in his 17th term in the U.S. House of Representatives, and serves residents in the Fourth Congressional District of New Jersey. Smith, 60, currently serves as a senior member on the Foreign Affairs Committee, and is chairman of its Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organization Subcommittee. In 2011-2012 he chaired both the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE), and the Congressional-Executive Commission on China. He also serves as “Special Representative” on Human Trafficking for the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, and as an executive member of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission. Previously, he served as Chairman of the Veterans Committee (two terms) and Chairman of the Foreign Affairs’ Subcommittee on Human Rights and International Operations and the Subcommittee on Africa.
Smith has long chaired a number of bipartisan congressional caucuses (working groups) including the Pro-life (31 years), Autism (15 years), Alzheimer’s (13 years), Lyme Disease (nineyears), Spina Bifida (nine years), Human Trafficking (nine years), Refugees (nine years), and Combating Anti-Semitism caucuses, and serves on caucuses on Bosnia, Uganda and Vietnam.
According to the independent watchdog organization Govtrack, as of January 2014 Smith ranks fourth among all 435 Members of the House over the last two decades in the number of laws authored.
He is the author of America’s three landmark anti-human trafficking laws including The Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, a comprehensive law designed to prevent modern-day slavery, protect victims, and enhance civil and criminal penalties against traffickers, as well as more than a dozen veterans health, education and homeless benefits laws, and laws to boost embassy security, promote democracy, religious freedom, and health care.
Smith is the author of the $265 million Stem Cell Therapeutic and Research Act of 2005 which established a nationwide program for ethical research and treatment using umbilical cord blood and bone marrow cells. That landmark law was reauthorized in September 2010 for another five years.
In October 2011, Smith’s bill, HR 2005, the Combating Autism Reauthorization Act (CARA) of 2011, was signed into law (Public Law PL112-32), a follow-up to his Autism Statistics, Surveillance, Research, and Epidemiology Act (ASSURE) of 2000.
A lifelong New Jerseyan, Congressman Smith graduated from The College of New Jersey with a degree in business administration. Prior to being elected to Congress, he helped run a small business– his family’s wholesale sporting goods corporation. He is also the former Executive Director of the New Jersey Right to Life Committee.
The congressman is married to his wife of 35 years, Marie, and they have four grown children.
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