Text: H.R.4309 — 105th Congress (1997-1998)All Information (Except Text)

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Public Law No: 105-320 (10/30/1998)

 
[105th Congress Public Law 320]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]


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[DOCID: f:publ320.105]


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                   TORTURE VICTIMS RELIEF ACT OF 1998

[[Page 112 STAT. 3016]]

Public Law 105-320
105th Congress

                                 An Act


 
      To provide a comprehensive program of support for victims of 
            torture. <<NOTE: Oct. 30, 1998 -  [H.R. 4309]>> 

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in <<NOTE: Torture Victims Relief Act of 
1998. 22 USC 2152 note.>> Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``Torture Victims Relief Act of 1998''.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS. <<NOTE: 22 USC 2152 note.>> 

    Congress makes the following findings:
            (1) The American people abhor torture by any government or 
        person. The existence of torture creates a climate of fear and 
        international insecurity that affects all people.
            (2) Torture is the deliberate mental and physical damage 
        caused by governments to individuals to destroy individual 
        personality and terrorize society. The effects of torture are 
        long term. Those effects can last a lifetime for the survivors 
        and affect future generations.
            (3) By eliminating the leadership of their opposition and 
        frightening the general public, repressive governments often use 
        torture as a weapon against democracy.
            (4) Torture survivors remain under physical and 
        psychological threats, especially in communities where the 
        perpetrators are not brought to justice. In many nations, even 
        those who treat torture survivors are threatened with reprisals, 
        including torture, for carrying out their ethical duty to 
        provide care. Both the survivors of torture and their treatment 
        providers should be accorded protection from further repression.
            (5) A significant number of refugees and asylees entering 
        the United States have been victims of torture. Those claiming 
        asylum deserve prompt consideration of their applications for 
        political asylum to minimize their insecurity and sense of 
        danger. Many torture survivors now live in the United States. 
        They should be provided with the rehabilitation services which 
        would enable them to become productive members of our 
        communities.
            (6) The development of a treatment movement for torture 
        survivors has created new opportunities for action by the United 
        States and other nations to oppose state-sponsored and other 
        acts of torture.
            (7) There is a need for a comprehensive strategy to protect 
        and support torture victims and their treatment providers, 
        together with overall efforts to eliminate torture.

[[Page 112 STAT. 3017]]

            (8) By acting to heal the survivors of torture and protect 
        their families, the United States can help to heal the effects 
        of torture and prevent its use around the world.

SEC. 3. DEFINITION. <<NOTE: 22 USC 2152 note.>> 

    As used in this Act, the term ``torture'' has the meaning given the 
term in section 2340(1) of title 18, United States Code, and includes 
the use of rape and other forms of sexual violence by a person acting 
under the color of law upon another person under his custody or physical 
control.

SEC. 4. FOREIGN TREATMENT CENTERS. <<NOTE: 22 USC 2152 note.>> 

    (a) Amendments to the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961.--Part I of the 
Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (22 U.S.C. 2151 et seq.) is amended by 
adding at the end of chapter 1 the following new section:

``SEC. 129. ASSISTANCE FOR VICTIMS OF TORTURE. <<NOTE: 22 USC 2152.>> 

    ``(a) In General.--The <<NOTE: President.>> President is authorized 
to provide 
assistance for the rehabilitation of victims of torture.

    ``(b) Eligibility for Grants.--Such assistance shall be 
provided in the form of grants to treatment centers and programs in 
foreign countries that are carrying out projects or activities 
specifically designed to treat victims of torture for the physical and 
psychological effects of the torture.
    ``(c) Use of Funds.--Such assistance shall be available--
            ``(1) for direct services to victims of torture; and
            ``(2) to provide research and training to health care 
        providers outside of treatment centers or programs described in 
        subsection (b), for the purpose of enabling such providers to 
        provide the services described in paragraph (1).''.

    (b) Funding.--
            (1) Authorization of appropriations.--Of the amounts 
        authorized to be appropriated for fiscal years 1999 and 2000 
        pursuant to chapter 1 of part I of the Foreign Assistance Act of 
        1961, there are authorized to be appropriated to the President 
        $5,000,000 for fiscal year 1999 and $7,500,000 for fiscal year 
        2000 to carry out section 129 of the Foreign Assistance Act of 
        1961, as added by subsection (a).
            (2) Availability of funds.--Amounts appropriated 
        pursuant to this subsection shall remain available until 
        expended.

    (c) Effective Date.--The amendment made by subsection (a) shall take 
effect October 1, 1998.

SEC. 5. DOMESTIC TREATMENT CENTERS. <<NOTE: 22 USC 2152 note.>> 

    (a) Assistance for Treatment of Torture Victims.--The Secretary of 
Health and Human Services may provide grants to programs in the United 
States to cover the cost of the following services:
            (1) Services for the rehabilitation of victims of torture, 
        including treatment of the physical and psychological effects of 
        torture.
            (2) Social and legal services for victims of torture.
            (3) Research and training for health care providers outside 
        of treatment centers, or programs for the purpose of enabling 
        such providers to provide the services described in para-
        graph (1).

[[Page 112 STAT. 3018]]

    (b) Funding.--
            (1) Authorization of appropriations.--Of the amounts 
        authorized to be appropriated for the Department of Health and 
        Human Services for fiscal years 1999 and 2000, there are 
        authorized to be appropriated to carry out subsection (a) 
        (relating to assistance for domestic centers and programs for 
        the treatment of victims of torture) $5,000,000 for fiscal year 
        1999, and $7,500,000 for fiscal year 2000.
            (2) Availability of funds.--Amounts appropriated 
        pursuant to this subsection shall remain available until 
        expended.

SEC. 6. MULTILATERAL ASSISTANCE. <<NOTE: 22 USC 2152 note.>> 

    (a) Funding.--Of the amounts authorized to be appropriated for 
fiscal years 1999 and 2000 pursuant to chapter 3 of part I of the 
Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, there are authorized to be appropriated 
to the United Nations Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture (in this 
section referred to as the ``Fund'') the following amounts for the 
following fiscal years:
            (1) Fiscal year 1999.--For fiscal year 1999, $3,000,000.
            (2) Fiscal year 2000.--For fiscal year 2000, $3,000,000.

    (b) Availability of Funds.--Amounts appropriated pursuant to 
subsection (a) shall remain available until expended.
    (c) Sense of the Congress.--It is the sense of the Congress that the 
President, acting through the United States Permanent Representative to 
the United Nations, should--
            (1) request the Fund--
                    (A) to find new ways to support and protect 
                treatment centers and programs that are carrying out 
                rehabilitative services for victims of torture; and
                    (B) to encourage the development of new such centers 
                and programs;
            (2) use the voice and vote of the United States to support 
        the work of the Special Rapporteur on Torture and the Committee 
        Against Torture established under the Convention Against Torture 
        and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment; 
        and
            (3) use the voice and vote of the United States to establish 
        a country rapporteur or similar procedural mechanism to 
        investigate human rights violations in a country if either the 
        Special Rapporteur or the Committee Against Torture indicates 
        that a systematic practice of torture is prevalent in that 
        country.

SEC. 7. <<NOTE: 22 USC 2152 note.>> SPECIALIZED TRAINING FOR FOREIGN 
            SERVICE OFFICERS.

    (a) In General.--The Secretary of State shall provide training for 
foreign service officers with respect to--
            (1) the identification of torture;
            (2) the identification of the surrounding circumstances in 
        which torture is most often practiced;
            (3) the long-term effects of torture upon a victim;
            (4) the identification of the physical, cognitive, and 
        emotional effects of torture, and the manner in which these 
        effects can affect the interview or hearing process; and
            (5) the manner of interviewing victims of torture so as not 
        to retraumatize them, eliciting the necessary information to 
        document the torture experience, and understanding the 
        difficulties victims often have in recounting their torture 
        experience.

[[Page 112 STAT. 3019]]

    (b) Gender-Related Considerations.--In conducting training under 
subsection (a)(4) or (5), gender-specific training shall be provided on 
the subject of interacting with women and men who are victims of torture 
by rape or any other form of sexual violence.

    Approved October 30, 1998.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY--H.R. 4309:
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HOUSE REPORTS: No. 105-709, Pt. 1 (Comm. on International Relations).
CONGRESSIONAL RECORD, Vol. 144 (1998):
            Sept. 14, considered and passed House.
            Oct. 8, considered and passed Senate, amended.
            Oct. 10, House concurred in Senate amendment.

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