H.Res. 944: Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives on religious minorities in Iraq

H.Res. 944

Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives on religious minorities in Iraq

Sponsor
Rep. Gary C. Peters

Date
February 23, 2010 (111th Congress, 2nd Session)

Staff Contact

Floor Situation

H.Res. 944 is expected to be considered on the floor of the House on Tuesday, February 23, 2010, under a motion to suspend the rules, requiring a two-thirds vote for passage. The legislation was introduced by Rep. Gary C. Peters (D-MI) on December 3, 2009.

Bill Summary

H.Res. 944 would resolve that the House of Representatives:

  • "The United States remains deeply concerned about the plight of vulnerable religious and ethnic minorities of Iraq and is particularly concerned for the Chaldeans, Syriacs, Assyrians, and other Christians, Sabean Mandeans, Yazidis, Baha'is, Jews, and Muslim ethnic minorities, the Shabak and Turkomen, and other religious and ethnic minorities of Iraq;
  • "The United States Government and the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq should urge the Government of Iraq to enhance security at places of worship in Iraq, particularly where religious minorities are known to be at risk;
  • "The United States Government should continue to work with the Government of Iraq to-
    • "Urgently train and deploy into the Iraqi police and security forces members of vulnerable minority communities in Iraq, including in Nineveh and other areas in which religious minorities are located, who are as representative as possible of those communities; and
    • "Ensure that members of such communities-
      • "Suffer no discrimination in recruitment, employment, or advancement in the Iraqi police and security forces; and
      • "While employed in the Iraqi police and security forces, be assigned to their locations of origin, rather than being transferred to other areas;
  • "The Government of Iraq should, with the assistance of the United States Government-
    • "Ensure that the upcoming national elections in Iraq are safe, fair, and free of intimidation and violence so that all Iraqis, including religious minorities, can participate in the elections; and
    • "Permit and facilitate election monitoring by experts from local and international nongovernmental organizations, the international community, and the United Nations, particularly in minority areas;
  • "The Government of Iraq and the Kurdistan regional government should work towards a peaceful and timely resolution of disputes over territories;
  • "The United States Government and the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq should urge the Government of Iraq to work with minority communities and their representatives to develop measures to implement article 125 of the Iraq Constitution, which guarantees ‘the administrative, political, cultural, and educational rights of the various nationalities, such as Turkomen, Chaldeans, Assyrians, and all the other constituents' in Nineveh and other areas where these groups are present;
  • "The Government of Iraq should take affirmative measures to reverse the legal, political, and economic marginalization of religious minorities in Iraq;
  • "The United States Government should direct assistance to projects that develop the ability of ethnic and religious minorities in Iraq to organize themselves civically and politically to effectively convey their concerns to government;
  • "The United States Government should continue to fund capacity-building programs for the Iraqi Ministry of Human Rights, the independent national Human Rights Commission, and a new independent minorities committee whose membership is selected by minority communities of Iraq;
  • "The Government of Iraq should direct the Iraqi Ministry of Human Rights to investigate and issue a public report on abuses against and the marginalization of minority communities in Iraq and make recommendations to address such abuses;
  • "The Government of Iraq should, with the assistance of the United States Government and international organizations, help ensure that displaced Iraqis considering return to Iraq have the proper information needed to make informed decisions regarding such return; and
  • "The United States Government and international organizations should continue to work with the Government of Iraq to develop the legal framework necessary to address property disputes resulting when displaced Iraqis attempt to return to their homes in Iraq."

 

Background

According to the resolution's findings, threats against the smallest religious minorities in Iraq jeopardize the future of Iraq as a diverse, pluralistic, and free society. According to the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, there are grave threats to religious freedom in Iraq, particularly for the smallest, most vulnerable religious minorities in Iraq, including Chaldeans, Syriacs, Assyrians, and other Christians, Sabean Mandeans, and Yazidis.