Washington Week on Human Rights: July 7, 2014
CHILDREN AT THE BORDER Congress is back this week and will hold two hearings to address the surge in unaccompanied minors crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. On Wednesday, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee will hold a hearing on "Challenges at the Border: Examining the Causes, Consequences, and Responses to the Rise in Apprehensions at the Southern Border." On Thursday, the Senate Appropriations Committee will hold a hearing to discuss the Obama Administration’s emergency supplemental funding request to address the situation at the border. The hearing will feature testimony from Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, Healthy and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell, and State Department Counsel Thomas A. Shannon, Jr. Human Rights First recently traveled to the U.S.-Mexico border and has issued a set of recommendations on how the administration should deal with families and children crossing the southern border.
CRISIS IN IRAQ Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said last week that the Department of Defense is still assessing what role the United States military should play in helping the Iraqi government reclaim territories seized by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), which has renamed itself the Islamic State. The United States has approximately 750 military advisors and troops in Iraq to provide strategic support. While Dempsey said U.S. airstrikes are possible, he noted that it would be pointless for the U.S. military to intervene if Iraq fails to form a new government that draws support from all factions within the nation.
STATE DEPARTMENT TRAVEL Secretary of State John Kerry is traveling to China this week to meet with senior officials during the sixth Strategic and Economic Dialogue. Cybersecurity and other areas of disagreement are expected to be on the agenda. In addition, Tom Malinowski, assistant secretary for the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, is in Bahrain this week to meet with the Kingdom’s government officials, as well as nongovernmental opposition leaders.
Quote of the Week
“The basic idea of welcoming immigrants to our shores is central to our way of life, it is in our DNA. We believe our diversity, our differences, when joined together by a common set of ideals, makes us stronger, makes us more creative, makes us different. From all these different strands, we make something new here in America. And that’s why, if we want to keep attracting the best and brightest from beyond our borders, we’re going to have to fix our immigration system, which is broken, and pass commonsense immigration reform."
Human Rights First’s Michael Quigley argued in The Hill that, despite some political opposition, federal court is the most appropriate place to try suspected terrorist Ahmed Abu Khattala, who is accused of orchestrating the 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.
In Defense News, Human Rights First’s Neil Hicks argues that in light of recent events in the Middle East, the United States needs a comprehensive regional strategy that makes promoting and protecting human rights a central role.
After being released from prison, prominent Bahraini human rights defender Nabeel Rajab writes in the Global Post that the U.S. government has failed to protect human rights in his country and urges the United States to change the bilateral relationship to promote stability, safety, and freedom for the Bahraini people.
Pink News reported that the Kyiv March for Equality was cancelled this weekend following the announcement that local authorities would not provide police protection. Human Rights First’s Brian Dooley was in Ukraine for the event and stated that the cancellation of the event is a major setback for human rights in the country.
NPR’s Robert Siegel interviews Dana Leigh Marks, the president of the National Association of Immigration Judges, about the legal process facing unaccompanied children who cross the U.S.-Mexico border.
On the Hill
Tuesday, July 8, 2014
The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee’s Children and Families Subcommittee will hold a hearing on "Falling Through the Cracks: The Challenges of Prevention and Identification in Child Trafficking and Private Re-homing." 10AM, 430 Dirksen Senate Office Building
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s East Asian and Pacific Affairs Subcommittee will hold a hearing on "Combating Forced Labor and Modern-Day Slavery in East Asia and The Pacific." Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Scot Marciel; Luis CdeBaca, ambassador-at-large for the State Department's Office To Monitor And Combat Trafficking In Persons; Neha Misra, senior specialist for migration and human trafficking at the Solidarity Center; and Jesse Eaves, senior policy advisor for child protection at World Vision, will testify. 10AM, 419 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Wednesday, July 9, 2014
The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee will hold a hearing on "Challenges at the Border: Examining the Causes, Consequences, and Responses to the Rise in Apprehensions at the Southern Border." 10AM, 342 Dirksen Senate Office Building
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will hold a hearing on the nominations of Leslie Ann Bassett to be ambassador of the United States of America to the Republic of Paraguay and Todd Robinson to be ambassador of the United States of America to the Republic of Guatemala. 9:30AM, 419 Dirksen Senate Office Building
The Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (Helsinki Commission) will host a hearing on "Political Pluralism in the OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) Mediterranean Partners?" - focusing on Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia. William Taylor, vice president for Middle East and Africa at the U.S. Institute of Peace; Shibley Telhami, chair for peace and development at the University of Maryland; and Zeinab Abdelkarim, regional director for Middle East and North Africa at the International Foundation for Electoral Systems. 10AM, SVC-203/202, U.S. Capitol
Thursday, July 10, 2014
The full Senate Appropriations Committee will hold a hearing to review the expected president's emergency supplemental request related to unaccompanied children. The witness list is below. The hearing will feature testimony from Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, Healthy and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell, and State Department Counsel Thomas A. Shannon, Jr. 2:30, Dirksen Senate Office Building 106
The House Foreign Affairs Committee’s Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organizations Subcommittee will hold a hearing on "Human Rights Vetting: Nigeria and Beyond." Retired Army Col. Peter Aubrey, president of Strategic Opportunities International; and Lauren Ploch Blanchard, specialist in African affairs at the Congressional Research Service, will testify. 2PM, 2172 Rayburn House Office Building
Tuesday, July 8, 2014
The Johns Hopkins University Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) will hold a discussion on "Countering Violent Extremism: A Peacebuilding Lens." The event will feature Georgia Holmer, senior program officer in the Center for Gender and Peacebuilding at the U.S. Institute of Peace; Mike Jobbins, senior program manager for Africa at Search for Common Ground; Irfan Saeed, senior policy adviser in the Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties at the Homeland Security Department; and Haroon Ullah, member of the Policy Planning Staff at the State Department. 9:30AM, SAIS, Nitze Building, 1740 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Kenney Auditorium, Washington, D.C.
The National Endowment for Democracy (NED) will host a discussion on "The Rise and Fall of Constitutionalism in Hungary." The event will feature Christopher Walker, executive director of the International Forum for Democratic Studies; Gabor Halmai, fellow at NED; and Marc Plattner, vice president for research at NED. 3PM, NED, 1025 F Street NW, Suite 800, Washington, D.C.
Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB) and the Solidarity Center of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) will hold a briefing on "Modern Day Slavery: What the U.S. Government and the International Community Can do to Combat Migrant Labor Abuses and End Human Trafficking in the Gulf." The event will feature Sarah Leah Whitson, executive director of the Middle East and North African Division of Human Rights Watch; James Lynch, researcher at Amnesty International; James Suzano, legal officer at ADHRB; and Shawna Bader-Blau, executive director of the AFL-CIO Solidarity Center. 3PM, CVC-268, U.S. Capitol
Wednesday, July 9, 2014
The Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP) will host a film screening and discussion on "Red Lines: Inside the Battle for Freedom in Syria." The event will feature co-director and producer Andrea Kalin, founder of Spark Media and executive director of Stone Group Productions; and Andrew Tabler, senior fellow in the Program on Arab Politics at WINE.
1:45PM, WINEP, 1828 L Street NW, Suite 1050, Washington, D.C.
Friday, July 11, 2014
The Woodrow Wilson Center's (WWC) Middle East Program and the International Civil Society Action Network will hold a discussion on "In the Mainstream: Religious Extremism in the Middle East and North Africa." The event will feature Ken Ballen, president and founder of Terror Free Tomorrow; Sanam Naraghi Anderlini, co-founder and executive director of the International Civil Society Action Network; and Mohamad Alsanousi, director of external relations at the Network of Religious and Traditional Peacemakers. 9AM, WWC, One Woodrow Wilson Plaza, Ronald Reagan Building, 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Fifth Floor, Washington, D.C.