On March 16, a bipartisan group United States of america senators City: International Repression Policy Act, which aims to “hold foreign governments and individuals accountable when they intimidate, threaten, or attack people across borders, including the United States.” The bill also establishes combating international repression as a foreign policy priority, including government efforts to advance democracy and human rights around the world.
The law builds on a provision that was passed in Congress National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2022, which focuses on international repression through the misuse of Interpol data and procedures by governments, such as physically targeting a dissident based abroad. The Biden administration has also stepped up other efforts to counter repression domestically and internationally, including Federal Bureau of Investigation,
Tactics used by governments to target human rights defenders and dissidents can be physical, such as kidnapping, or non-physical, through spyware or online harassment. The intent is to control the behavior of the person being targeted.
According to freedom HouseInternational repression is becoming more common and is now a “global threat to human rights and democratic values”. New LegislationIf passed, the bill would be an important step for the US toward greater protections for dissidents and others targeted in this way.
The legislation would require the State Department to include a new section in its annual human rights report on international repression, and the secretary of state to submit a report to Congress on a government strategy to address the issue. It would also create a tip line for victims or witnesses of international repression to report incidents to the US government.
The bill also includes requiring relevant US government employees to be trained to better understand and identify international coercion. It directs the intelligence community to identify and share information about perpetrators of international repression in the United States. The law would also require the president to submit to Congress a list of foreign persons who should be sanctioned for engaging in international repression.
Members of Congress should support this effort. Human rights defenders often come to the United States to escape persecution at home. With the passage of this law, the US government will be better equipped to protect them.