Text: H.Res.562 — 105th Congress (1997-1998)All Bill Information (Except Text)

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Engrossed in House (10/13/1998)

[Congressional Bills 105th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]
[H. Res. 562 Engrossed in House (EH)]

                 In the House of Representatives, U.S.,

                                                      October 13, 1998.
Whereas totalitarian regimes, including Fascist and Communist dictatorships, 
        have caused immeasurable human suffering and loss, degrading not only 
        every conceivable human right, but the human spirit itself;
Whereas the villainy of communism was dedicated, in particular, to the organized 
        and systematic destruction of private property ownership, including 
        ownership of real, personal, business, and financial property, by 
        individuals and communities;
Whereas the confiscation of property without compensation by totalitarian 
        regimes was often designed to victimize people because of religion, 
        ethnicity, national or social origin, or opposition to such regimes;
Whereas certain individuals and communities twice suffered the taking of their 
        properties without compensation, first by the Nazis and their 
        collaborators and next by subsequent Communist regimes;
Whereas churches, synagogues, mosques, and other religious properties, as well 
        as properties such as hospitals, schools and orphanages owned by 
        religious communities, were destroyed or confiscated as a means of 
        breaking the spiritual devotion and allegiance of religious people and 
        dismantling religious communities;
Whereas refugees from communism, in addition to being wrongfully deprived of 
        their property, were often forced to relinquish their citizenship in 
        order to protect themselves and their families from reprisals by the 
        Communists who ruled their countries;
Whereas the participating States of the Organization for Security and 
        Cooperation in Europe have agreed to achieve or maintain full 
        recognition and protection of all types of property, including private 
        property, and the right to prompt, just and effective compensation in 
        the event private property is taken for public use;
Whereas the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, the Caucasus, and Central 
        Asia, have entered a post-Communist period of transition and democratic 
        development, and many countries have begun the difficult and wrenching 
        process of trying to right the wrongs of previous totalitarian regimes;
Whereas many countries in Central and Eastern Europe have enacted laws providing 
        for the restitution of properties that were illegally or unjustly 
        seized, nationalized, confiscated, or otherwise expropriated by 
        totalitarian regimes;
Whereas legal or administrative restrictions that require claimants to reside 
        in, or be a citizen of, the country from which they seek restitution of, 
        or compensation for, wrongfully expropriated property are arbitrary, 
        discriminatory, and in violation of international law; and
Whereas the rule of law and democratic norms require that the activity of 
        governments and their administrative agencies be exercised in accordance 
        with the laws passed by their parliaments or legislatures, and such laws 
        themselves must be consistent with international human rights standards: 
        Now, therefore, be it
    Resolved, That the House of Representatives--
            (1) welcomes the efforts of many formerly totalitarian countries to 
        address the complex and difficult question of the status of wrongfully 
        expropriated properties;
            (2) urges countries which have not already done so to return 
        wrongfully expropriated properties to their rightful owners or, when 
        actual return is not possible, to pay prompt, just and effective 
        compensation, in accordance with principles of justice and in a manner 
        that is just, transparent and fair;
            (3) calls for the return of wrongfully expropriated properties to 
        religious communities;
            (4) calls on Croatia, the Czech Republic, Latvia, Lithuania, 
        Romania, Slovakia, and any other nation whose laws or regulations limit 
        restitution or compensation for wrongfully expropriated properties to 
        persons who reside in, or are citizens of, the country from which 
        restitution or compensation is sought, to remove such restrictions; and
            (5) urges formerly totalitarian countries to pass and effectively 
        implement laws that provide for restitution of, or compensation for, 
        wrongfully expropriated property.
    Sec. 2. The Clerk of the House of Representatives shall transmit a copy of 
this resolution to the President of the United States.