For Immediate Release: May 18, 2012
Washington, DC – Human Rights First applauds Representatives Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Keith Ellison (D-MN), and Kay Granger (R-TX) for their leadership to end an inappropriate business relationship between the Department of Defense and a Russian state arms company that is enabling widespread human rights violations in Syria.
“By taking the issue to the floor of the U.S. Congress, Representatives DeLauro, Ellison, and Granger sent a strong message to the Department of Defense that the United States will not stand for U.S. tax dollars indirectly subsidizing attacks in Syria,” said Human Rights First’s Sadia Hameed. “They were right to be outraged by the Defense Department’s nearly $1 billion contract with Rosoboronexport, a company that’s arming Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s military and enables his forces to continually carry out attacks on civilians.”
Representatives DeLauro, Ellison, and Granger sponsored a bipartisan amendment prohibiting future contracts between the Defense Department and any company arming the Assad regime. Russia remains the biggest supplier of weapons to the Assad regime, selling nearly $1 billion worth of arms in 2011. Rosoboronexport handles about 80 percent of Russia’s arms exports.
The amendment aims to prevent future no-bid contracts with companies like Rosoboronexport. The language was approved by voice vote as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization bill that was passed through the House yesterday.
To speak with Hameed or for more information about this amendment, please contact Brenda Bowser Soder at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-370-3323.