Text: H.Res.396 — 114th Congress (2015-2016)All Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in House (07/29/2015)

 
[Congressional Bills 114th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]
[H. Res. 396 Introduced in House (IH)]

114th CONGRESS
  1st Session
H. RES. 396

Calling on the Government of Bangladesh to protect the human rights of 
   all its citizens, particularly vulnerable minorities, strengthen 
  democratic institutions and rule of law, and prevent the growth of 
                           extremist groups.


_______________________________________________________________________


                    IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

                             July 29, 2015

Ms. Gabbard (for herself, Mr. Salmon, Mr. Sherman, Mr. Fattah, and Mr. 
  Dold) submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the 
                      Committee on Foreign Affairs

_______________________________________________________________________

                               RESOLUTION


 
Calling on the Government of Bangladesh to protect the human rights of 
   all its citizens, particularly vulnerable minorities, strengthen 
  democratic institutions and rule of law, and prevent the growth of 
                           extremist groups.

Whereas the nation of Bangladesh achieved independence in 1971 and established a 
        secular democratic state, which is home to Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, 
        Christians, and atheists;
Whereas there is extensive documentation that the West Pakistan army in 
        conjunction with local militias carried out crimes against humanity 
        against the ethnic Bengali population in East Pakistan during the 1971 
        War of Independence;
Whereas though numbers vary, reports indicate that the violence resulted in 
        approximately 3,000,000 deaths, more than 10,000,000 displaced, and 
        200,000 women raped;
Whereas Edward Kennedy, the former Democratic Senator from Massachusetts, 
        denounced the massacres of civilians on the Senate floor and wrote the 
        following in a report for a Senate Judiciary Subcommittee Hearing, 
        ``Field reports to the U.S. Government, countless eye-witness 
        journalistic accounts, reports of International agencies such as World 
        Bank and additional information available to the subcommittee document 
        the reign of terror which grips East Bengal (East Pakistan). Hardest hit 
        have been members of the Hindu community who have been robbed of their 
        lands and shops, systematically slaughtered, and in some places, painted 
        with yellow patches marked `H'. All of this has been officially 
        sanctioned, ordered and implemented under martial law from Islamabad'';
Whereas a report by the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) following the 
        war confirmed that the Pakistani army and local paramilitary militias 
        were responsible for an ``attempt to exterminate or drive out of the 
        country a large part of the Hindu population of approximately 10 million 
        people.'';
Whereas Bengali nationalists also carried out attacks on the ethnic Bihari 
        population, who were viewed as supporters of Pakistan during the war;
Whereas during violent riots against the International Crimes Tribunals (ICT), 
        Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) along with its opposition alliance 
        partner Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI), and Islami Chhatra Shibir (ICS) 
        supporters set off dozens of bombs, removed tracks from major railways, 
        attacked security personnel, and forcibly shut down businesses, 
        disrupting life for ordinary Bangladeshis;
Whereas the Tribunals were established in 2010 by Bangladesh to investigate war 
        crimes committed during the 1971 War of Independence by local militias, 
        including JeI and ICS, that collaborated with the Pakistani army;
Whereas BNP, JeI, and ICS engaged in widespread violence against vulnerable 
        minorities following verdicts by the tribunals, resulting in the 
        destruction of nearly 50 temples and 1,500 homes;
Whereas Amnesty International, subsequent to the violence, noted with concern 
        that, ``The Hindu community in Bangladesh is at extreme risk . . . It is 
        shocking that they appear to be targeted simply for their religion. The 
        authorities must ensure that they receive the protection they need.'';
Whereas minorities were similarly targeted by BNP, JeI, and ICS in the run-up to 
        and during the recently conducted elections, during which 495 Hindu 
        homes were damaged, 585 shops were attacked or looted, and 169 temples 
        were vandalized between November 2013 and January 2014, according to the 
        Bangladesh Hindu Buddhist Christian Unity Council;
Whereas religious extremists have also attacked Buddhists, Christians, and 
        Ahmadi Muslims;
Whereas JeI and ICS, and other extremist groups pose an ongoing threat to 
        Bangladesh's stability and secular democracy, and religious minorities 
        remain at grave risk of continuing violence;
Whereas the recent flawed elections also threaten Bangladesh's stability and 
        democracy by leading to violence around the country;
Whereas machete wielding Islamic extremists brutally murdered Avijit Roy and 
        critically injured his wife Rafida Ahmed, both United States citizens of 
        Bangladeshi origin and atheist activists, on February 26, 2015, in close 
        proximity of police officers at the world famous Dhaka Book Fair;
Whereas Islamic extremists in Bangladesh have a history of targeting atheist 
        bloggers and activists, as more than 8 have been murdered over the past 
        11 years, and dozens more are now in hiding for fear of their lives;
Whereas repeated attacks on religious minorities, expanding religious 
        intolerance, and growing destabilization caused by radical groups, 
        including JeI and ICS, undermine United States economic and strategic 
        interests in Bangladesh;
Whereas there is a growing trend of Islamic extremism in Bangladesh tied to pro-
        Islamic State of Iraq and Syria activity, with several arrests of 
        Islamists linked with the terrorist group made over the past year; and
Whereas the United States should more actively engage with the Government of 
        Bangladesh over their shared interests in safeguarding human rights, 
        religious freedom, and secular democracy in Bangladesh, while preventing 
        the growth of religious extremism and militancy: Now, therefore, be it
    Resolved, That the House of Representatives--
            (1) acknowledges the victims of the 1971 War of 
        Independence;
            (2) calls on the Government of Bangladesh to adhere to 
        internationally recognized norms for elections, rule of law, 
        and for due process in the conduct of the International Crimes 
        Tribunal;
            (3) calls on the Government of Bangladesh to stop radical 
        organizations, such as Jamaat-e-Islami and Islami Chhatra 
        Shibir, who pose an ongoing threat to the country's stability 
        and secular democracy; and
            (4) calls on the Government of Bangladesh to protect the 
        human rights and fundamental freedoms of all its citizens, 
        particularly vulnerable minorities.
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