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S. 854: Enhancing Human Rights Protections in Arms Sales Act of 2019


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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on Mar 25, 2019.


Enhancing Human Rights Protections in Arms Sales Act of 2019

This bill requires the Department of State to certify that a proposed recipient of certain controlled defense articles and services complies with various human rights-related requirements.

For each proposed export of articles and services that fall within certain categories of the U.S. Munitions List, excluding ground-based missile defense systems, the State Department shall make various certifications, including that

during the fiscal year in which the transfer will take place, the articles or services will not be used in hostilities where the receiving government has committed gross violations of internationally recognized human rights; during the last three fiscal years and the one in which the transfer took place, the receiving government has not ordered ethnic cleansing or used child soldiers; and the receiving government will facilitate unfettered civilian access to humanitarian relief in any conflict it is engaged in. The State Department shall report to Congress if it learns of facts that contradict a certification made in the last three years.

The President may waive the certification requirement for national security purposes, unless Congress enacts a joint resolution prohibiting the transaction.

The State Department shall report to Congress a strategy to ensure human rights protections for U.S. military assistance and arms transfers.

The bill expands an existing monitoring program to include monitoring to ensure that arms and services exported as foreign assistance are not being used by non-state actors and proxies for committing gross human rights abuses.