Text: H.Res.259 — 116th Congress (2019-2020)All Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in House (03/27/2019)

[Congressional Bills 116th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]
[H. Res. 259 Introduced in House (IH)]


  1st Session
H. RES. 259

  Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives to support the 
   repatriation of religious and ethnic minorities in Iraq to their 
                          ancestral homelands.



                             March 27, 2019

  Mr. Fortenberry (for himself and Ms. Eshoo) submitted the following 
   resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs



  Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives to support the 
   repatriation of religious and ethnic minorities in Iraq to their 
                          ancestral homelands.

Whereas the Nineveh Plain and the wider region have been the ancestral homeland 
        of Assyrian Chaldean Syriac Christians, Yazidis, Shabak, and other 
        religious and ethnic minorities, where they lived for centuries until 
        the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) overran and occupied the area 
        in 2014;
Whereas, in 2016, then-Secretary of State John Kerry announced, ``In my judgment 
        Daesh is responsible for genocide against groups in areas under its 
        control, including Yezidis, Christians, and Shia Muslims. Daesh is 
        genocidal by self-proclamation, by ideology, and by actions--in what it 
        says, what it believes, and what it does. Daesh is also responsible for 
        crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing directed at these same 
        groups and in some cases also against Sunni Muslims, Kurds, and other 
Whereas these atrocities were undertaken with the specific intent to bring about 
        the eradication and displacement of Christians, Yazidis, and other 
        communities and the destruction of their cultural heritage, in violation 
        of the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the 
        Crime of Genocide;
Whereas, in 2016, the House of Representatives passed H. Con. Res. 75 expressing 
        the sense of the House of Representatives that the atrocities 
        perpetrated by ISIS against religious and ethnic minorities in Iraq and 
        Syria include war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide;
Whereas it is consistent with the commitments of Iraq, the Kurdish Regional 
        Government, the United States, and the international community to 
        guarantee the restoration of fundamental human rights, including 
        property rights, to genocide victims, and to see that ethnic and 
        religious pluralism survives in Iraq;
Whereas President Trump issued orders to defeat ISIS, and with the joint efforts 
        of the United States and 79 allies and partners, ISIS has been edged out 
        of large swaths of territory in Iraq and Syria that it once controlled;
Whereas, in July 2018, under the direction of Vice President Pence, the Genocide 
        Recovery and Persecution Response Program has partnered the Department 
        of State and the United States Agency for International Development with 
        local faith and community leaders to rapidly deliver aid to persecuted 
        communities, beginning with Iraq;
Whereas Christians in Iraq once numbered over 1.5 million in 2003 and have 
        dwindled to less than 200,000 today;
Whereas armed militia groups linked to Iran and operating in Sinjar and the 
        Nineveh Plains are increasing the instability and insecurity of northern 
        Iraq, preventing the conditions for local and indigenous minorities to 
        return to their homelands;
Whereas Iraqi religious minorities have faced challenges in integrating into the 
        Iraqi Security Forces and Kurdish Peshmerga; and
Whereas facilitating the success of communities in Sinjar and the Nineveh Plains 
        requires a commitment from international, Iraqi, Kurdish, and local 
        authorities, in partnership with local faith leaders, to promote the 
        safety and security of all people, especially religious and ethnic 
        minorities: Now, therefore, be it
    Resolved, That it is the sense of the House of Representatives 
            (1) it should be a policy priority of the United States, 
        working with international partners, the Government of Iraq, 
        the Kurdistan Regional Government, and local populations, to 
        support the safe return of displaced indigenous people of the 
        Nineveh Plain and Sinjar to their ancestral homeland;
            (2) Iraqi Security Forces and the Kurdish Peshmerga should 
        work to more fully integrate all communities, including 
        religious minority communities to counter current and future 
        terrorist threats; and
            (3) the United States, working with international allies 
        and partners, should coordinate efforts to provide for the safe 
        return and future security of religious minorities in the 
        Nineveh Plain and Sinjar.

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