Here are 7 good human rights ideas waiting to be enacted. We will update this list from time to time, so send us your ideas.
S. 1220 (105th): The Human Rights Information Act would require certain Federal agencies to identify and organize all human rights records regarding activities occurring in Guatemala and Honduras after 1944 for declassification and disclosure purposes, and to make them available to the public and other official entities, including Latin American or Caribbean countries. Later versions of this bill, never enacted, (such as H.R. 2534, 108th) were not limited to specific countries.
H.R. 491 (113th): The Prohibiting Export of Censorship and Surveillance Technology Act would prohibit U.S. information technology companies from locating their servers in countries that restrict Internet access, prevent them from helping such countries filter Internet content, and prohibit the export of censorship and surveillance technology to the government of any Internet-restricting country.
S. 377 (115th): The Trafficking In Persons Report Integrity Act would strengthen the State Department’s annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report by increasing transparency and requiring governments to show progress during the previous reporting period (as opposed to making promises of future remediation). Additionally, the bill would require any country whose government sponsors forced labor to be ranked Tier 3, the lowest ranking, which could involve possible sanctions.
H.R. 4452 (114th): This bill would redesignate the street in front of the Chinese Embassy in Washington, DC as “Liu Xiaobo Plaza”, in honor of the recently deceased political prisoner and 2010 Nobel Peace Prize winner. In 1984, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved a measure to rename the street in front of the Soviet Embassy as “Sakharov Plaza”, in honor of Soviet dissident Andrei Sakharov, who was then on a hunger strike. Even though the measure was never enacted, the D.C. government executed the change, thereby poking the Soviet government at the time and educating passersby ever since.
S. 1346 (111th): The Crimes Against Humanity Act would build on the precedent of the Genocide Convention Implementation Act of 1987 (PL 100-606), known as “the Proxmire Act”, which established the criminal offense of genocide in U.S. Code. It would impose criminal penalties for a broader range of crimes, including sex trafficking, torture, and ethnic cleansing.
H.R. 6644 (112th): Although USAID carries out extensive programs to support democracy, human rights, and good governance (funded under the title “Democracy Fund” in annual SFOAs), the authorities in the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 for such activities are scattered and incoherent. Section 3103 of the Global Partnerships Act of 2012 would require U.S. action plans every 3-5 years for human rights and democracy in countries receiving foreign assistance and streamline goals, objectives and authorities for such assistance. More generally, this bill – which was an ambitious effort to rewrite the Foreign Assistance Act – includes a ton of great model language, much of it ready to be enacted.
S. 713/H.R. 1340 (114th): Section 3 of the International Violence Against Women Act of 2015 would establish U.S. policy for preventing and responding to violence against women and girls around the world.