Rep. Omar Introduces the the Global Migration Agreement Act and Stop Arming Human Rights Abusers Act (SAHRAA)
July 27, 2021
Bills Would Put Human Rights at the Center of Foreign Policy
WASHINGTON -- Today, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) reintroduced the Stop Arming Human Rights Abusers Act (SAHRAA) and the Global Migration Agreement Act.
“I am a survivor of war, and I understand personally how it takes lives, shatters futures and tears apart families,” Rep. Omar said. “I also know the moral authority the United States carries on the world stage when we stand up for human rights. We have an opportunity to live up to these values, to ensure that no child lives through violent conflict like I did, and to mean what we say when it comes to championing human rights worldwide. That’s why I am proud to introduce the Stop Arming Human Rights Abusers Act, to ensure that there are consequences to human rights abuses regardless of who commits them, and the Global Migration Agreement, to ensure that people displaced by conflict and climate change have a place to call home. America has led the world in standing up for human rights before. It’s time for us to seize the mantle of leadership again.”
The Global Migration Agreement Act lays out a long-term vision for American leadership on tackling the global migration crisis. It instructs the State Department and UN Ambassador to take the lead on creating a binding international migration agreement, and lays out the principles and rights on which such an agreement should be based. It acknowledges the insufficiency of current categories of forced displacement, the unfair burden taken on by countries like Sudan, Colombia, Niger, Jordan, and Bangladesh, and the particular vulnerability of women, girls, LGBT+ people, and other minorities. It also notes that every country has a role to play - the countries people are fleeing need to address root causes, the countries on the migrant trails need to have systems in place to protect vulnerable migrants, and countries where people arrive need to have plans for guaranteeing their human rights. You may read the full bill here.
The SAHRAA imposes universal human rights and humanitarian conditions on security cooperation with the United States. The bill establishes red lines based on internationally recognized gross violations of international human rights and international humanitarian law. It creates a bipartisan, independent commission modeled after the US Commission on International Religious Freedom that will be responsible for making recommendations about countries to list and delist under this law. Once a country is determined to have crossed those lines, it automatically triggers a prohibition on security aid of any kind, arms sales including those controlled by the Commerce Dept. (tear gas, etc.), and exchanges with U.S. law enforcement. At the same time, it requires the State Department to actively work with the country in question to enact transitional justice mechanisms for the victims. You may read the full bill here.
Part of Rep. Omar’s Pathway to Peace, the bills outline a bold progressive vision to rethink the country’s approach to foreign policy by centering human rights, justice and peace as the pillars of America’s engagement in the world, and making military action a last resort. The plan takes into account the experiences of people directly affected by conflict and the long-term consequences of U.S. militarism, acknowledges the damage done when we fail to live up to international human rights standards and is sincere about our values regardless of short-term political convenience.