NEWS FROM CONGRESS
The Syrian Emergency Task Force, in cooperation with the House Foreign Affairs Committee, hosted an event on Capitol Hill to commemorate the 8th anniversary of the start of the Syrian Revolution. With a display of the Caesar photos and distinguished speakers, the event honored the half million people killed since 2011, the 14 million displaced, and the hundreds of thousands, including Americans, still held in Assad's dungeons.
Speakers (from left to right):
Naomi Kikoler Acting Director, Center for the Prevention of Genocide, US Holocaust Memorial Museum
The Honorable Elliot Engel Chairman, House Foreign Affairs Committee
The Honorable Michael McCaulRanking Member, House Foreign Affairs Committee
Omar Alshogre Survivor of Assad's Prisons
Alfred MunzerHolocaust Survivor
Representative French Hill
Representative Adam Kinzinger
Mouaz Moustafa Executive Director of the Syrian Emergency Task Force
The Caesar Bill Passed the House for a THIRD TIME
The Caesar Bill, first introduced in 2016, has passed The House for the 3rd time this January 2019. The Caesar Bill sanctions the human rights abusers in Syria to push the Assad government to end the slaughter of its people and work towards democracy.
When the Caesar Bill becomes law, the Syrian people will have hope for protection and justice from the United States. It will be the most effective action by the U.S. to bring accountability and stability for the people of Syria.
WHITE HOUSE STATEMENT OF SUPPORT:
Floor Statement on Caesar Bill and Layla Shweikani
COngressman kinzinger made a powerful statement on floor of congress condemning the murder of an american citizen and supporting the Caesar bill:
Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL-16)
December 12, 2018 10:50AM ET | Bloomberg Government
By Bloomberg Floor Watchers
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. We have a lot of really important issues we talk about every day out here. I want to talk about something that's happening a few thousand miles away but affects us all. I want to talk about what's going on in Syria. Mr. Speaker, I remember back in 2011 being in Israel and standing in the Golan Heights and looking over Syria and our guide at the time made the comment that there is a little disturbance over there.
There was some concern about where that was going to lead. We all know what's happened since. A lot of attention focused on Yemen right now, but in Syria there is 500,000 Syrian civilians that have been killed by a brutal dictator, Al Assad, 50,000 of which are children.
Some of those children in spectacular displays were murdered by the use of chemical weapons. I give great considered as read to the our President and this administration for responding as America that believes in morals and strength should by bombing and destroying some of the facilities that did that and holding to our red line. The war hasn't stopped and the egregious war continues and I actually believe that the nature of that war is creating another generation of terrorists, people that feel that they don't have hope.
People that feel they don't have hope and opportunity don't exist, people turn to extremes. And this one case. I want to talk specifically about a really sad situation, a lady from Chicago, an American citizen, who was murdered by the Assad regime.
She was Chicago born. After a few years ago, basically made the decision that she had a passion for the people of Syria and decided to go and be an aide worker. Two years ago she disappeared.
We know that she was put into Assad's prison camps and tortured for 10 months. An American, by the way. Before being transferred to a military court.
Unfortunately, a few weeks ago our worst fears were confirmed. Miss Layla was tortured to death and executed on December 28, 2016. The first American we know that was tortured and killed by Al Assad. We know there are other Americans in captivity. We know this something that needs to be addressed.
Mr. Speaker, there is some in our government on this chamber and other chamber that express sympathy to Al Assad and believe the antiquated theory that oppression of civilians is the only way to prevent terrorism, and I would argue that in the age of information and age of knowledge, oppression only leads to more terrorists. Oppression leads to hopelessness. To a lack of opportunity.
And to turning the only option they know at that time may be ISIS or al Qaeda because they don't see any other opportunity or hope. Mr. Speaker, these people that express sympathy in our government, while I believe that's something they have to answer with their creator ultimately someday, I'm curious now what the response of everybody is when we find out that an American woman was tortured and killed in the prison camps of Assad. We have a bill called the Caesar Civilian Protection Act. Caesar was a brave hero from Syria that took tens of thousands of pictures of torture victims of Assad, brought them, smuggled them to the United States, in front of my committee and foreign affairs, showed some of these pictures. And there was an act that would sanction many members of the regime that was passed unanimously out of foreign affairs, passed out of the House. Largely supported in the Senate as being held up by a junior Senator from Kentucky. I call on the other side of this blessed Capitol to pass the Syrian Caesar protection act. I call on the administration as they have said, they said they support this, to sign this, put this on the resolute desk. We talk a lot about the importance of women and equality and I couldn't agree more.
But in that debate I think it's important to remember that in Syria an American civilian woman was tortured to death. We look in places like Afghanistan and know the oppression of women that occurred there. And we know that America stands for something greater and it's not just through the use of military but through what we believe and stand for and the light that we shine.
Mr. Speaker, this a terrible situation miss Layla's death. But let us learn from it and go forward and let the people of Syria be free. Mr. Speaker, I yield back.