Summary: H.Con.Res.397 — 106th Congress (1999-2000)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Passed House amended (11/01/2000)

Expresses concern about the tendency of Central Asian leaders to seek to remain in power indefinitely and their willingness to manipulate constitutions, elections, and legislative and judicial systems to do so.

Urges the President, the Secretaries of State and Defense, and other U.S. officials to raise with such leaders the concern about serious violations of human rights, including noncompliance with Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) commitments on democracy and the rule of law.

Urges Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan to: (1) come into compliance with OSCE commitments on human rights, democracy, and the rule of law, specifically the holding of free and fair elections that do not exclude genuine challengers; (2) permit independent and opposition parties and candidates to participate on an equal basis with representation in election commissions at all levels; and (3) allow domestic non-governmental and political party observers, as well as international observers.

Calls on Central Asian leaders to: (1) establish conditions for independent and opposition media to function without constraint, limitation, or fear of harassment; (2) repeal criminal laws which impose prison sentences for alleged defamation of the state or public officials; and (3) provide access to state media on an equal basis during election campaigns to independent and opposition parties and candidates.

Calls on Central Asian governments that have begun roundtable discussions with opposition and independent forces to engage in a serious and comprehensive national dialogue on institutionalizing measures to hold free and fair elections and urges those governments which have not launched such roundtables to do so.

Calls on the leaders of Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan to: (1) condemn and take steps to cease the systematic use of torture and other inhuman treatment by authorities against political opponents and others; (2) permit the registration of independent and opposition parties and candidates; and (3) register independent human rights monitoring organizations.

Urges the governments of Central Asia which are engaged in military campaigns against violent insurgents to: (1) observe international law regulating such actions; (2) keep civilians and other noncombatants from harm; and (3) not use such campaigns to justify further crackdowns on political opposition or violations of human rights commitments under the OSCE.

Encourages the Administration to raise with the governments of other OSCE participating states the possible implications for OSCE participation of any participating state in the region that engages in clear, gross, and uncorrected violations of its OSCE commitments on human rights, democracy, and the rule of law.

Urges the Voice of America and Radio Liberty to expand broadcasting to Central Asia, as needed, with a focus on assuring that the peoples of the region have access to unbiased news and programs that support respect for human rights and the establishment of democracy and the rule of law.