WASHINGTON, DC—Representative Eliot L. Engel, the leading Democrat on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, today delivered the following remarks at the full Committee markup of a bill to direct the President to develop a strategy to obtain observer status for Taiwan in the International Criminal Police Organization, and for other purposes (H.R. 1853), the Girls Count Act of 2015 (H.R. 2100), the United States International Communications Reform Act of 2015 (H.R. 2323), a resolution condemning the April 2015 terrorist attack at the Garissa University College in Garissa, Kenya, and reaffirming the United States support for the people and Government of Kenya (H.Res 235), and a resolution expressing deepest condolences to and solidarity with the people of Nepal following the devastating earthquake on April 25, 2015 (H.Res. 235).
“Thank you for holding this markup, Mr. Chairman, and thank you as always for working with us in such a bipartisan manner on all the measures before us, and in all the activity of this committee.
“Let me first voice my support for H.R. 1853, the Taiwan INTERPOL Act, sponsored by Chairman Salmon.
“This bill would direct the Executive Branch to help Taiwan receive observer status in the International Criminal Policy Organization, known as INTERPOL. INTERPOL enhances public safety around the world by linking law enforcement agencies and facilitating a smooth flow of information.
“Taiwan’s absence from INTERPOL creates a public safety risk for the people of Taiwan, and actually for all of us. This legislation will help put Taiwan on a path to observer status in INTERPOL – the same status it enjoys in other international organizations like the World Health Assembly -- I urge my colleagues to support this.
“Let me next thank Representatives Chabot and McCollum for introducing the Girls Count Act.
“Around the world, over a third of children under the age of five—mostly girls—have no registration of their birth. A lack of documentation creates a dire vulnerability to child labor, human trafficking, and child marriage. Their lives are defined by limited choices and opportunities. And the long-term development of their communities is also dragged down.
“The Syria refugee crisis has presented an acute example of this challenge.
“H.R. 2100 will ramp up efforts to get more children registered. It authorizes the State Department and USAID to work with local governments to expand access to registration programs, helping children get off to a good start. So I urge my colleagues to support this bill as well.
“I’m also glad that Chairman Royce has reintroduced the United States International Communications Reform Act, which I’m proud to cosponsor. This bill, which passed the House unanimously last year, would bring a much-needed overhaul to the Broadcasting Board of Governors.
“During the Cold War, the Voice of America, Radio Free Europe, and other U.S.-backed broadcasters presented honest, unbiased news and information in the face of relentless Soviet propaganda. Mr. Royce and I both support these kinds of programs.
“Today, America’s rivals spend massive sums to spread violent messages and disseminate propaganda. Unfortunately, our ability to respond has fallen behind the techniques employed by Russia, ISIS, and others.
“This bill creates a new management structure to oversee our international broadcasting efforts. It streamlines our various broadcasting organizations, eliminates duplication, and clarifies the roles of the Voice of America and the so-called ‘surrogates.’ And it would promote the use of new media platforms to complement traditional tools like short-wave radio and television.
“I want to thank Chairman Royce for his dedication to this issue and I urge support for this bill.
“I also support H. Res. 213, which condemns the recent attack at Garissa University College in Garissa, Kenya by the brutal terrorist group al Shabaab.
“Because Kenya’s leaders chose to make their region stronger and participate in the African Union Mission in Somalia, al Shabaab killed nearly 150 innocent students and teachers, and injured more than 100 others.
“The resolution offers condolences to the family and friends of those killed, recognizes Kenya as an important ally, and commends Kenya for working to heal a war-torn Somalia.
“Let me thank Congresswoman Karen Bass, the Ranking Member on the Africa Subcommittee, for spearheading this measure, and I urge my colleagues to support it.
“Finally, I want to express my support for H.Res. 235, expressing our deepest condolences and solidarity with the people of Nepal following the devastating April 25 earthquake—which left more than 8,000 dead, several thousand more injured, and has disrupted the lives of more than 8 million people.
“But even in such a tragedy, we are inspired by the global response – partners like India and Japan. And of course our American search and rescue teams have done incredible work, whether first responders from a few miles away here in Fairfax County or from the California Fire Department—along with American Marines, including six who lost their lives in a tragic helicopter crash. And the Congress paid homage to them yesterday.
“More than 50 aftershocks have shaken Nepal since April 25, and there will be more. And that's why we need to work with partners to ensure the people of Nepal are prepared for these kinds of natural disasters in the future.
“This resolution signals our commitment to that goal, and I urge our colleagues to support it.
“Again, Mr. Chairman, thank you for your work to move forward with these important bills. We appreciate very much working together in such a bipartisan manner.”