Congressmen Wilson, Kildee, Chabot, and Gonzalez Introduce “The Stop UN Support for Assad Act of 2019
On October 28th, Congressmen Joe Wilson (R-SC), Dan Kildee (D-MI), Steve Chabot (R-OH), and Vicente Gonzalez (D-TX) introduced the bi-partisan bill HR 4868, the Stop UN Support for Assad Act of 2019, which will ensure that U.S. taxpayer money does not benefit the Assad regime in Syria.
Bennett Gross, Executive Director of the Multifaith Alliance for Syrians Refugees (MFA) welcomed this announcement, stating that, “In delivering humanitarian relief into war-torn Syria, MFA has seen first-hand the Assad Regime’s callous disregard for its people and country. The cruelty has been overwhelming in scale and scope. It is extremely unfortunate that the UN works with the Assad regime to send international aid, which is so often diverted to non-humanitarian purposes and to supporting the further brutalization of the innocent people of Syria. TThis legislation will get to the heart of the matter – stopping use of these funds for the Assad regime’s war effort against its own people.”
H.R. 4868, the Stop UN Support for Assad Act of 2019 would:
Make it U.S. policy that no U.S. assistance should be given directly or indirectly to the Assad regime in Syria, including through UN organs.
Require the Secretary of State to certify that UN programming in Syria does not materially support the Assad regime and adheres to the UN’s own Supplier Code of Conduct.
If the Secretary of State certifies in the negative, redirect U.S. funds to USAID’s Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance for Syria programming.
“The U.S. has donated over $6 billion to UN operations in Syria, including over $435 million in 2018 alone. While we would like to believe our money is going to help Syrian civilians suffering under the brutality of the Assad regime, reports have indicated that this aid underwrites Assad’s killing machine and helps to solidify his grip on power,” said Congressman Joe Wilson. “The Stop UN Support for Assad Act of 2019 will ensure that the millions we send every year to UN operations in Syria go towards funding humanitarian programs to help innocent Syrians instead of padding Assad’s bloody coffers.”
“This critical legislation will help ensure that the brutal Assad regime is not enriched by United Nations aid meant for the victims of his government,” said Congressman Kildee. “The people of Syria continue to suffer at the hands of this dictator and this bill will help make sure aid meant for the people of Syria does not end up in the hands of their oppressor.”
“I am deeply troubled that the United Nations is allowing Assad to control how and where to spend international aid, especially by paying millions to entities controlled by the regime and its cronies. Instead, this common-sense legislation requires the UN to properly vet its partners, and if it fails to do so, would redirect U.S. funds for Syria from the UN to USAID, so that they are more carefully used in the areas that need it most,” said Congressman Steve Chabot. “Americans deserve to know that their hard-earned tax dollars are not propping up a war criminal like Assad, nor supporting Iranian or Russian forces. It is unfortunate that the United Nations is more concerned with the appearance of reconstruction than ensuring that funds are spent appropriately.”
“We can no longer stand by as United Nations aid props up President Bashar al-Assad, a brutal dictator and human rights abuser, his associates, and Syrian military personnel,” said Congressman Vicente Gonzalez. “I am proud to co-sponsor bipartisan legislation that defines clear and strict guidelines for the administration of humanitarian aid in the Syrian conflict, prevents the further weaponization and manipulation of foreign assistance, and ensures that aid is delivered to those who need it most.