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H.R. 5065 (111th): UNRWA Humanitarian Accountability Act

The text of the bill below is as of Apr 20, 2010 (Introduced).


I

111th CONGRESS

2d Session

H. R. 5065

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

April 20, 2010

(for herself, Mr. Burton of Indiana, Mr. Kirk, Mrs. Bachmann, Mrs. Miller of Michigan, and Mr. Shimkus) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs

A BILL

To ensure accountability for United States taxpayers’ humanitarian assistance for Palestinian refugees.

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the UNRWA Humanitarian Accountability Act.

2.

United states contributions to UNRWA

Section 301 of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 is amended by striking subsection (c) and inserting the following new subsection:

(c)
(1)

Withholding

Contributions by the United States to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), to any successor or related entity, or to the regular budget of the United Nations for the support of UNRWA or a successor entity (through staff positions provided by the United Nations Secretariat, or otherwise), may be provided only during a period for which a certification described in paragraph (2) is in effect.

(2)

Certification

A certification described in this paragraph is a written determination by the Secretary of State, based on all information available after diligent inquiry, and transmitted to the appropriate congressional committees along with a detailed description of the factual basis therefor, that—

(A)

no official, employee, consultant, contractor, subcontractor, representative, or affiliate of UNRWA—

(i)

is a member of a Foreign Terrorist Organization;

(ii)

has propagated, disseminated, or incited anti-American, anti-Israel, or anti-Semitic rhetoric or propaganda; or

(iii)

has used any UNRWA resources, including publications or Web sites, to propagate or disseminate political materials, including political rhetoric regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict;

(B)

no UNRWA school, hospital, clinic, other facility, or other infrastructure or resource is being used by a Foreign Terrorist Organization for operations, planning, training, recruitment, fundraising, indoctrination, communications, sanctuary, storage of weapons or other materials, or any other purposes;

(C)

UNRWA is subject to comprehensive financial audits by an internationally recognized third party independent auditing firm and has implemented an effective system of vetting and oversight to prevent the use, receipt, or diversion of any UNRWA resources by any foreign terrorist organization or members thereof;

(D)

no UNRWA-funded school or educational institution uses textbooks or other educational materials that propagate or disseminate anti-American, anti-Israel, or anti-Semitic rhetoric, propaganda or incitement;

(E)

no recipient of UNRWA funds or loans is a member of a Foreign Terrorist Organization; and

(F)

UNRWA holds no accounts or other affiliations with financial institutions that the United States deems or believes to be complicit in money laundering and terror financing.

(3)

Definition

In this section:

(A)

Foreign terrorist organization

The term Foreign Terrorist Organization means an organization designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization by the Secretary of State in accordance with section 219(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1189(a)).

(B)

Appropriate congressional committees

The term appropriate congressional committees means—

(i)

the Committees on Foreign Affairs, Appropriations, and Oversight and Government Reform of the House; and

(ii)

the Committees on Foreign Relations, Appropriations, and Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs of the Senate.

(4)

Effective Duration of Certification

The certification described in paragraph (2) shall be effective for a period of 180 days from the date of transmission to the appropriate congressional committees, or until the Secretary receives information rendering that certification factually inaccurate, whichever is earliest. In the event that a certification becomes ineffective, the Secretary shall promptly transmit to the appropriate congressional committees a description of any information that precludes the renewal or continuation of the certification.

(5)

Limitation

During a period for which a certification described in paragraph (2) is in effect, the United States may not contribute to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) or a successor entity an annual amount—

(A)

greater than the highest annual contribution to UNRWA made by a member country of the League of Arab States;

(B)

that, as a proportion of the total UNRWA budget, exceeds the proportion of the total budget for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) paid by the United States; or

(C)

that exceeds 22 percent of the total budget of UNRWA.

.

3.

Sense of Congress

It is the sense of Congress that—

(1)

the President and the Secretary of State should lead a high-level diplomatic effort to encourage other responsible nations to withhold contributions to UNRWA, to any successor or related entity, or to the regular budget of the United Nations for the support of UNRWA or a successor entity (through staff positions provided by the United Nations Secretariat, or otherwise) until UNRWA has met the conditions listed in subparagraphs (A) through (F) of section 301(c)(2) of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (as added by section 2 of this Act);

(2)

citizens of recognized states should be removed from UNRWA’s jurisdiction;

(3)

UNRWA’s definition of a Palestine refugee should be changed to that used for a refugee by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees; and

(4)

in order to alleviate the suffering of Palestinian refugees, responsibility for those refugees should be fully transferred to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.