Hastings Introduces the Justice for Yazidis Act

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Washington, D.C., January 9, 2017 | comments

Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL) released the following statement after introducing the Justice for Yazidis Act. The legislation seeks to expand mental health, physical therapy, and other health services to religious minority groups that have suffered the greatest persecution under the Islamic State (IS), including those subjected to rape, forced marriage, and sexual slavery. (Please find attached a copy of the legislation.)

“The Justice for Yazidis Act establishes greatly needed programs to expand mental health, physical therapy, and other health services to religious minority groups that have suffered the greatest persecution under the Islamic State (IS). These programs, though modest, are greatly needed and will help victims of genocide begin the long process of healing.

“The crimes committed by IS are horrifying and brutal. Apart from the mass killings, the beheadings, and torture, IS has created a system of organized kidnapping, rape, forced marriage, and sexual slavery primarily targeted against girls from religious and ethnic minority groups like the Yazidis. Thousands of women remain enslaved. For those who have escaped or been rescued, the road to recovery is daunting. The United States, through the Department of State and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has provided services and goods for these groups, but the need continues to grow on a daily basis. My legislation will add new programs to better serve Yazidi, Christian, and other religious minorities. 

“In addition, this legislation establishes a P2 Processing system for Iraqi and Syrian religious minority groups, allowing individuals to apply directly to the United States for refugee status without compromising the rigorous vetting standards already in place. Passing this measure expeditiously will reaffirm America’s commitment to those around the world suffering from great injustice.”

Congressman Alcee L. Hastings serves as Senior Member of the House Rules Committee, Ranking Democratic Member of the U.S. Helsinki Commission, and Co-Chairman of the Florida Delegation.

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