- As Delivered -

WASHINGTON—Representative Eliot L. Engel, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, today made the following remarks in support of 12 different measures marked up in the full Committee: a resolution recognizing the importance of U.S.-Korea-Japan trilateral relations (H.Res.634), a resolution supporting the territorial integrity of Georgia (H.Res.660), a resolution supporting human rights, democracy, and rule of law in Cambodia (H.Res.728), a resolution expressing support for finalization of a Memorandum of Understanding with Israel (H.Res.729), a resolution urging the European Union to designate the entirety of Hizballah as a terrorist entity (H.Res.750), a resolution urging respect for Democratic Republic of Congo constitution through transition of power (H.Res.780), a resolution calling on Iran to release Iranian-Americans (H.Res.808), a resolution honoring the life and legacy of Elie Wiesel (H.Res.810), a resolution urging Gabon to respect democratic principles during upcoming presidential elections (H.Res.821), the Education for All Act of 2016 (H.R.4481), the Digital Global Access Policy Act of 2016 (H.R.5537), and the Caesar Syrian Civilian Protection Act of 2016 (H.R.5732).

“I’m going to focus first on a bill that the Chairman just mentioned that I introduced, and it is one of the measures that we’re considering en bloc.

“Earlier this week, Chairman Royce and I introduced the Caesar Syrian Civilian Protection Act. One of the most remarkable moments for me as Ranking Member took place two years ago when the man known as ‘Caesar’ visited this Committee.  Our colleagues will remember that day very vividly. He was a photographer who worked for the Assad government in Syria who defected to the opposition.  He brought with him horrific photographic evidence of violence and torture and killing that the regime had inflicted upon its own people.

“The need for American leadership to end this crisis has never been greater, and my bill would provide the Administration with even more tools to help end the bloodshed and usher in a political transition.

“This bill would impose new sanctions on any parties that continue to do business with the Assad regime, but leaves flexibility for the Administration so that if negotiations go forward, sanctions could be waived on a case-by-case basis to keep things moving along. The bill also addresses war crimes and crimes against humanity that have been so obvious in this conflict by facilitating evidence collection and requiring a report to name and shame those responsible for human-rights violations against the Syrian people. Lastly, this bill strengthens oversight of our cross-border assistance going into Syria, and requires a report on the potential effectiveness, risks, and requirements of a no-fly zone over or safe-zone in Syria.

“I’m grateful to the Chairman for joining me to introduce this bill, and I ask that all members support it.

“We have 11 other measures we’re taking up en bloc, and I’m glad to support all of them:

“Mr. Salmon’s resolution underscoring the importance of the U.S.-South Korea-Japan trilateral relationship enhances regional security and holds North Korea accountable on its atrocious human-rights record.

“Mr. Poe’s resolution expressing support for Georgia’s territorial integrity and condemns Putin’s aggression and supports the people of Georgia.

“Mr. Lowenthal’s resolution supporting democracy, human rights, and the rule of law in Cambodia urges Cambodia’s government, headed by the same Prime Minister since 1985, to respect the democratic aspirations of its people.

“Ms. Ros-Lehtinen’s measure calling for a new, long-term memorandum of understanding between the United States and Israel demonstrates our steadfastness in our support of Israel’s ability to defend itself.

“Mr. Deutch’s resolution appropriately calls on the European Union to designate Hezbollah in its entirety as a terrorist organization. 

“Mr. Smith’s resolution urges respect for the constitution of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in this year’s transfer of power.  And Chairman Royce and I were in the Democratic Republic of the Congo together just a few months ago. 

“The Chairman’s measure calling on Iran’s leaders to release Iranian-Americans Siamak Namazi and his father, Baquer Namazi.  It’s outrageous that Iran continues to detain Americans on trumped-up charges, and we need to keep holding Iran’s feet to the fire on these issues.

“Another resolution from Mr. Smith urges Gabon’s government to respect and uphold democratic principles in the upcoming presidential elections. 

“The Education for All Act, sponsored by my neighbor from New York, Nita Lowey, helps ensure that expanding access to basic education remains a foreign-policy priority in developing countries.

“A resolution from another New York colleague, Mr. Israel, honoring the life and work of Elie Wiesel, a constant example of the sort of courage needed to stand up against hatred and evil. 

“And lastly, the Chairman’s Digital Gap Act, which I’m happy to cosponsor, promotes our interest in seeing more people around the world get online, and I thank the Chairman for his work on this measure.

“These are all good pieces of legislation I’m glad to support.  Again, I thank everyone for their hard work.  I wish everyone a good summer break. 

“I ask unanimous consent to enter into the record a statement of support for H.R. 4481, the Education for All Act, from my good friend and Ranking Member of the Appropriations Committee and author of the bill, Ms. Lowey.  And I yield back, Mr. Chairman.”