Frank Amendment on the Persecution of Sexual and Religious Minorities Passes the House Financial Services Committee

Press Release from the Office of Congressman Barney Frank

For Immediate Release

Contact: Harry Gural
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Phone: (202) 225-9400
Cell:  (202) 281-0670

Frank Amendment on the Persecution of Sexual and Religious Minorities Passes the House Financial Services Committee

WASHINGTON – Congressman Barney Frank, Ranking Member of the House Financial Services Committee, today introduced an amendment in the Committee which would have the effect of pressuring countries which persecute people on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or religious belief.  Although most votes in the committee have broken along party lines, Congressman Frank’s amendment passed the Committee with near-unanimous support.  The text of the amendment follows:

The Committee urges Treasury to advocate that governments receiving assistance from the multilateral development institutions do not engage in gross violations of human rights, for example, the denial of freedom of religion, including the right to choose one’s own religion, and physical persecution based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

“What we have seen in recent years is a pattern of gross violation of human rights in some countries – extreme physical persecution and even execution,” said Congressman Frank.  “In Uganda for example, which was the major beneficiary of our Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Debt Initiative, there has been physical persecution of people who are sexual minorities.”

“The United States has a fairly influential voice in the development area.  And we should not be supportive of providing multilateral bank development funds going to the governments of countries which engage in the physical persecution of people because of their religious beliefs, sexual orientation or gender identity.”

Frank’s amendment will now be included in the language of House Financial Services Committee bill which outlines budget priorities for issues under its jurisdiction.  Because of the overwhelming support for Frank’s language in today’s deliberations, it is hoped that it will also garner support in the Budget Committee and in the House as a whole.

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