Home > 106th Congressional Bills > H.R. 4672 (ih) To authorize the President to award a gold medal on behalf of the Congress to Milton Friedman in recognition of his outstanding and enduring contributions to individual freedom and opportunity in American society. [Introduced in House] %%Fi...

H.R. 4672 (ih) To authorize the President to award a gold medal on behalf of the Congress to Milton Friedman in recognition of his outstanding and enduring contributions to individual freedom and opportunity in American society. [Introduced in House] %%Fi...


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108th CONGRESS
  2d Session
                                H. R. 4671

  To authorize assistance for education and health care for women and 
 children in Iraq during the reconstruction of Iraq and thereafter, to 
 authorize assistance for the enhancement of political participation, 
economic empowerment, civil society, and personal security for women in 
Iraq, to state the sense of Congress on the preservation and protection 
   of the human rights of women and children in Iraq, and for other 
                               purposes.


_______________________________________________________________________


                    IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

                             June 23, 2004

    Ms. Eddie Bernice Johnson of Texas (for herself, Ms. Dunn, Ms. 
 Slaughter, Mrs. Capito, Ms. Solis, Ms. Ginny Brown-Waite of Florida, 
     Mrs. Maloney, Mrs. Biggert, Mr. Hobson, Mr. Osborne, and Ms. 
 Schakowsky) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the 
                  Committee on International Relations

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 A BILL


 
  To authorize assistance for education and health care for women and 
 children in Iraq during the reconstruction of Iraq and thereafter, to 
 authorize assistance for the enhancement of political participation, 
economic empowerment, civil society, and personal security for women in 
Iraq, to state the sense of Congress on the preservation and protection 
   of the human rights of women and children in Iraq, and for other 
                               purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``Iraqi Women and Children's 
Liberation Act of 2004''.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

    Congress makes the following findings:
            (1) For more than 600 years under the Ottoman Empire, women 
        in Iraq were kept inside their homes, repressed, and forbidden 
        to be seen in public without a related male escort.
            (2) The Sevres Treaty of 1919, following World War I, 
        installed a new monarchy in Iraq under which education for boys 
        and girls flourished.
            (3) Within a span of 20 years, 6 centuries of repression of 
        women in Iraq was reversed. Thousands of women in Iraq became 
        lawyers, physicians, educators, teachers, professors, 
        engineers, prominent writers, artists, and poets, demonstrating 
        the impact of progressive policies on the ability of women in 
        Iraq to achieve.
            (4) In 1941, women in Iraq earned equal wages for equal 
        jobs, an achievement still not duplicated in most parts of the 
        world.
            (5) On July 14, 1958, the monarchy in Iraq was overthrown 
        by General Abdul-Karim Kasim, who enfranchised women in Iraq 
        with political rights.
            (6) In 1959, Iraq became the first country in the Middle 
        East to have a female minister, four female judges, prominent 
        scientists, politicians, and freedom fighters.
            (7) The 1959 Code of Personal Status secularized the multi-
        ethnic state of Iraq. Women enjoyed political and economic 
        rights, successfully participating in the workforce as well as 
        advancing in the political sphere. Women had the right to 
        receive an education and work outside the home. Women were 
        career military officers, oil-project designers, and 
        construction supervisors, and had government jobs in education, 
        medicine, accounting, and general administration.
            (8) The Code of Personal Status also granted women 
        extensive legal protections. It gave women the right to vote 
        and granted equal status to men and women under the law. It 
        prohibited marriage by persons under the age of 18 years, 
        arbitrary divorce, and male favoritism in child custody and 
        property inheritance disputes.
            (9) The regime of Saddam Hussein regularly used rape and 
        sexual violation of women to control information and suppress 
        opposition in Iraq and tortured and killed female dissidents 
        and female relatives of male dissidents.
            (10) The Department of State has reported that more than 
        200 women in Iraq were beheaded by units of ``Fedayeen 
        Saddaam'', a paramilitary organization headed by Uday Hussein.
            (11) After the 1990 invasion of Kuwait, the regime of 
        Saddam Hussein imposed policies that resulted in severe 
        economic hardship, discrimination, impoverishment, and 
        oppression of women in Iraq. Many women were prevented from 
        working. Presently, women comprise as much as 65 percent of the 
        population of Iraq, but only 19 percent of the workforce.
            (12) Men who killed female relatives in ``honor killings'' 
        were protected from prosecution for murder under Article 111 of 
        the Iraqi Penal Code enacted in 1990. The United Nations 
        Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women has reported that 
        since the enactment of that article, more than 4,000 women were 
        killed for tarnishing the honor of their families, with the 
        killings occurring by a range of methods that included stoning.
            (13) Maternal mortality is the leading cause of death among 
        women of reproductive age in Iraq, and it continues to rise due 
        to lack of basic health care. The maternal mortality rate in 
        Iraq is 292 deaths per 100,000 live births compared with a 
        maternal mortality rate in the United States of 8 deaths per 
        100,000 live births. 90 percent of the maternal deaths in Iraq 
        are identified as preventable.
            (14) More than 48 percent of the population of Iraq is 
        under the age of 18 years. 1 in 4 children of the age of 5 
        years or younger is chronically malnourished. 1 in 8 children 
        dies before the age of 5 years, the highest rate of mortality 
        among children under that age in the region. Some estimate the 
        total rate of child mortality in Iraq to be as high as 13 
        percent.
            (15) Girls and women in Iraq have meager educational 
        opportunities relative to the opportunities available to men 
        and boys in Iraq, and twice as many boys as girls in Iraq 
        attend school. 29 percent of females attend secondary school as 
        compared with 47 percent of males. The illiteracy rate in Iraq 
        is the highest in the Arab world at 61 percent for the general 
        population, 77 percent for women, and 45 percent for men.
            (16) Press accounts indicate that many women in Iraq are 
        being pressured to adhere to strict Islamic codes that restrict 
        their mobility and impinge on their human rights.
            (17) Security for women in Iraq is an issue of grave 
        concern. Women are afraid to leave their homes or to send their 
        daughters to school.
            (18) Women in leadership positions in Iraq are vulnerable 
        to attack. 1 of the 3 women on the Iraqi Governing Council was 
        assassinated, and another has a $2,000,000 bounty on her head.
            (19) Women from the autonomous Kurdish region travel 
        freely, hold important jobs and political positions, and 
        perform a key role in the revival of the areas of Iraq that 
        have been under Kurdish control. The integration of women in 
        the economic and political spheres of the region provides a 
        contrast to the rest of Iraq and serves as an example of what 
        is possible in Iraq.
            (20) According to the 2003 Arab Human Development Report of 
        the United Nations, pervasive exclusion of women from the 
        political, economic, and social spheres hampers development and 
        growth in Arab countries.
            (21) Ambassador L. Paul Bremer, the Presidential Envoy to 
        Iraq, has voiced his support of women in Iraq in stating that 
        ``[w]e in the coalition are committed to continuing to promote 
        women's rights in Iraq.''.
            (22) Women have participated in planning for Iraq's 
        political future in the following way:
                    (A) 3 out of 25 people on the Iraqi Governing 
                Council are women.
                    (B) 1 of the government ministries is led by a 
                woman. 16 of the 25 deputy minister positions are held 
                by women.
                    (C) 15 of the 1,000 nationally-appointed judges are 
                women.
            (23) Resolution 137 was adopted in a closed session 
        (sponsored by conservative Shiite members) on December 29, 
        2003, with the intent of reversing family law. The adoption of 
        that resolution threatened negative impacts on the rights of 
        women to education, employment, mobility, property inheritance, 
        divorce, and child custody.
            (24) Ambassador Bremer, who has veto power, stated that he 
        would not sign Resolution 137 into law.
            (25) The Iraqi Governing Council revoked Resolution 137 on 
        February 27, 2004, in part due to pressure from women's groups. 
        However some members of the Governing Council walked out to 
        protest this action.
            (26) The Transitional Administrative Law (TAL) that 
        establishes the framework for the interim government of Iraq 
        was officially signed on March 8, 2004. It aims to achieve a 
        goal of having women constitute not less than 25 percent of the 
        members of Iraq's interim legislature. It does not express a 
        goal for a representation rate for women in the executive or 
        judicial branch of the interim government. It also provides 
        that Sharia, the Islamic law, can be a source, but not the only 
        source, of Iraqi law.
            (27) United States officials propose to turn over political 
        power to Iraqis on June 30, 2004. Some factions have already 
        voiced strong objection to the TAL and could press ahead with 
        their goal of making Sharia the supreme law of Iraq.

SEC. 3. SENSE OF CONGRESS.

    It is the sense of Congress that--
            (1) the United States should ensure that women and children 
        in Iraq benefit from the liberation of Iraq from the regime of 
        Saddam Hussein;
            (2) women of all ethnic groups in Iraq should be included 
        in the economic and political reconstruction of Iraq;
            (3) women should be involved in the drafting and review of 
        the key legal instruments, especially the constitution, of the 
        emerging nation in Iraq in order to ensure that the transition 
        to that nation does not involve or facilitate the erosion of 
        the rights of women in Iraq;
            (4) women should have membership in any legislature or 
        other committee, body, or structure convened to advance the 
        reconstruction of Iraq that builds on the goal provided for in 
        the Transitional Administrative Law;
            (5) women should have a similar level of representation in 
        leadership posts in all levels of government in Iraq, including 
        ministers and judges, whether local or national, and women 
        should be integrated in all levels of political process in 
        Iraq, especially the building of political parties;
            (6) the presence of women on the Iraqi Governing Council 
        should better represent the percentage of women in the general 
        population of Iraq;
            (7) the participation and contribution of women to the 
        economy of Iraq should be fostered by awarding contracts and 
        sub-contracts to women and women-led businesses and by ensuring 
        the availability of credit for women;
            (8) continued emphasis and support should be granted to 
        grass-roots organization and civil society building in Iraq, 
        with special emphasis on organizing, mobilizing, educating, 
        training, and building the capacities of women and ensuring the 
        incorporation of their voices in decision-making in Iraq;
            (9) the security needs of women in Iraq should be addressed 
        and special emphasis placed on recruiting and training women 
        for the police force in Iraq; and
            (10) the Government of Iraq should adhere to 
        internationally accepted standards on human rights and rights 
        of women and children.

SEC. 4. AUTHORIZATION OF ASSISTANCE.

    (a) Education and Health Care Assistance for Women and Children.--
The President is authorized to provide education and health care 
assistance for the women and children living in Iraq and to women and 
children of Iraq who are refugees in other countries.
    (b) Enhancement of Political Participation, Economic Empowerment, 
Civil Society, and Personal Security of Women.--The President is 
authorized to provide assistance for the enhancement of political 
participation, economic empowerment, civil society, and personal 
security of women in Iraq.
    (c) Sense of Congress on Provision of Authorized Assistance.--It is 
the sense of Congress that the President should ensure that assistance 
is provided under subsections (a) and (b) in a manner that protects and 
promotes the human rights of all people in Iraq, utilizing indigenous 
institutions and nongovernmental organizations, especially women's 
organizations, to the extent possible.
    (d) Sense of Congress on Promotion of Human Rights in Provision of 
Assistance to Government of Iraq.--In providing assistance to the 
government of Iraq, the President should ensure that such assistance is 
conditioned on the government of Iraq making continued progress toward 
internationally accepted standards of human rights and the rights of 
women.
    (e) Reports.--Not later than 6 months after the date of the 
enactment of this Act, and every 6 months thereafter during the 3-year 
period beginning on such date, the Secretary of State shall submit to 
the appropriate congressional committees a report that sets forth the 
following:
            (1) A comprehensive description and assessment of the 
        conditions and status of women and children in Iraq as of the 
        date of the report, including a description of any changes in 
        such conditions and status during the 6-month period ending on 
        such date.
            (2) A statement of the number of women and children of Iraq 
        who are in refugee camps throughout the Middle East as of the 
        date of such report, a description of their conditions as of 
        such date, and a description of any changes in such conditions 
        during the 6-month period ending on such the date.
            (3) A statement of the expenditures of the United States 
        Government during the 6-month period ending on the date of such 
        report to promote the education, health, security, human 
        rights, opportunities for employment, judicial and civil 
        society involvement and political participation of women in 
        Iraq.
    (f) Appropriate Congressional Committees Defined.--In this section, 
the term ``appropriate congressional committees'' means--
            (1) the Committees on Appropriations and Foreign Relations 
        of the Senate; and
            (2) the Committees on Appropriations and International 
        Relations of the House of Representatives.
                                 <all>

Pages: 1

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