Submission to the Record- Advancing U.S. Interests in the Western Hemisphere- Full Committee Hearing

Ahead of the July 11, 2018 full committee hearing entitled “Advancing U.S. Interests in the Western Hemisphere”, Amnesty International USA submitted a statement for the hearing record.

The letter addresses Chairman Royce and Ranking Member Engel and reiterates the importance of strengthening human rights in the region. AIUSA supports foreign assistance that fosters implementation of policies to ensure that local communities, civil society organizations, including indigenous, marginalized groups, and local governments are consulted in the design, and participate in the implementation and evaluation of programs that affect them. This Committee has the duty to shape U.S. foreign policy and assistance that addresses regional refugee and human rights challenges. It’s also responsible for U.S treaty obligations oversight.

 

Therefore, we also recommend the Committee to:

  • Discourage U.S. support for military role in law enforcement, especially in Brazil, Colombia, Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador and Mexico.
  • Promote assistance for Central America, including the Alliance for Prosperity, and focus on actions that facilitate the implementation of reforms, policies, and measures to improve transparency and strengthen public institutions, including increasing the capacity and independence of the judiciary, and social inclusion programs.
  • Encourage that government personnel, including military and police personnel, who are credibly alleged to have violated human rights are investigated and prosecuted in the civilian justice system, and ensure that such personnel are cooperating in such cases.
  • Use its oversight mandate and act immediately to ensure that U.S refugee and asylum laws comply with U.S. obligations with the Convention and Protocol Related to the Status of Refugees, International Convention to Protect Civil and Political Rights, International Convention Against Torture and the Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.

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