Text: H.Res.129 — 116th Congress (2019-2020)All Information (Except Text)

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Engrossed in House (07/15/2019)

[Congressional Bills 116th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]
[H. Res. 129 Engrossed in House (EH)]

H. Res. 129

                In the House of Representatives, U. S.,

                                                         July 15, 2019.
Whereas the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has been an important strategic partner of 
        the United States, and the United States and Saudi Arabia share broad 
        interests, including defeating the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria 
        (ISIS), regional stability, and countering Iran's malign activities in 
        the Middle East;
Whereas, in June 2018, the Government of Saudi Arabia reversed the longstanding 
        ban on women driving;
Whereas Saudi Arabia's male guardianship system requires women to attain the 
        permission of their male guardian for a vast array of decisions, 
        including health care, employment, applying for a passport, 
        international travel, getting married, or even leaving prison;
Whereas, since May 2018, the Government of Saudi Arabia has arrested prominent 
        human rights advocates and imposed travel bans on numerous others, many 
        of them longtime supporters of ending the ban on women driving and 
        abolishing the male guardianship system;
Whereas none of the jailed activists has been convicted of any crimes, and many 
        reportedly have been held in solitary confinement for prolonged periods;
Whereas Aziza al-Yousef, a United States resident who helped lead a campaign 
        against the male guardianship system in Saudi Arabia, was imprisoned in 
        May 2018;
Whereas at least 10 activists supporting the rights of women have been subjected 
        to psychological and physical abuse, including sexual violence, 
        beatings, electric shocks, and sleep deprivation;
Whereas one of the detained activists, Loujain al-Hathloul, was reportedly 
        beaten, waterboarded, given electric shocks, sexually harassed, and 
        threatened with rape and murder;
Whereas the Department of State has undertaken some diplomatic measures to bring 
        concerns about the detention of these activists to the attention of the 
        Government of Saudi Arabia;
Whereas, on January 14, 2019, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he had raised 
        the case of the imprisoned activists with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed 
        bin Salman;
Whereas the 2018 Department of State Country Report on Human Rights Practices 
        for Saudi Arabia stated that, ``Women continued to face significant 
        discrimination under law and custom, and many remained uninformed about 
        their rights'', and ``women also faced discrimination in courts, where 
        in most cases the testimony of one man equals that of two women'';
Whereas in March and in May of 2019, Saudi authorities temporarily released 
        several activists pending trial;
Whereas, on April 21, 2005, Dr. Hatoon al-Fassi, an associate professor of 
        history at King Saud University and prominent activist who was detained 
        and later temporarily released, pending trial, testified before Congress 
        that a Saudi woman ``is considered legally and socially a minor; she is 
        confined to limited areas of educational opportunities; she is 
        restricted in employment opportunities; there are no legal bodies where 
        women could seek support; and finally, she is distanced from any 
        decisionmaking position'';
Whereas serious impediments to women's freedoms in Saudi Arabia remain, 
        including a high prevalence of forced marriages, inequality in marriage, 
        divorce, child custody and inheritance, laws that prevents women from 
        directly transmitting citizenship to their children, and the male 
        guardianship system; and
Whereas the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act (subtitle F of 
        title XII of Public Law 114-328) authorizes the President to deny travel 
        visas and freeze the United States-based assets of foreign government 
        officials responsible for ``extrajudicial killings, torture, or other 
        gross violations of internationally recognized human rights'': Now, 
        therefore, be it
    Resolved, That the House of Representatives--
            (1) reaffirms that promoting human rights and democracy has long 
        been a bedrock of United States foreign policy, including advancing the 
        rights and empowerment of women and girls;
            (2) condemns the Government of Saudi Arabia's continued detention 
        and alleged abuse of women's rights advocates jailed for peacefully 
        exercising their human rights;
            (3) urges Government of Saudi Arabia officials to immediately and 
        unconditionally release the imprisoned women's rights advocates and 
        other political prisoners, and hold accountable those involved in 
        perpetrating abuses;
            (4) urges Government of Saudi Arabia officials to end the male 
        guardianship system that restricts the ability of Saudi women to make 
        decisions about their lives; and
            (5) calls on the United States Government to--
                    (A) continue publicly and privately demanding the release of 
                individuals wrongfully detained;
                    (B) use the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act 
                (subtitle F of title XII of Public Law 114-328) to identify and 
                impose travel and financial restrictions on all Government of 
                Saudi Arabia officials responsible for gross violations of 
                internationally recognized human rights;
                    (C) document relevant details of alleged torture and abuse 
                in future annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices; and
                    (D) prioritize human rights, including the rights of women, 
                as a key component of the relationship between the United States 
                and Saudi Arabia.


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