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Sires Resolution Condemning Attacks on Press Freedoms in the Western Hemisphere Unanimously Passes in House Foreign Affairs Committee

Dec 9, 2015
Press Release

(Washington, D.C.) - “ Today, H.Res. 536, a resolution condemning attacks on press freedoms in the Western Hemisphere, introduced by Congressman Albio Sires, was successfully passed by the House Foreign Affairs Committee. H. Res. 536 was introduced with bipartisan support, with Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) serving as the lead Republican cosponsor.

"Freedom of expression is the keystone that holds any democracy together. As a child in Cuba, I witnessed the deterioration of democracy as the Castro regime took over the island and systematically destroyed all aspects of freedom of speech and expression. Being able to speak without censorship is a right that should never be stifled Working to preserve freedom of speech and pushing back against those who seek to quiet their dissenters should be a top priority when engaging with our neighbors in the region," stated Congressman Sires.

H.Res 536 supports a free press in Latin America and the Caribbean by condemning violations of press freedom and violence against journalists, bloggers, and individuals exercising their right to freedom of speech and. It also urges countries in the region to implement the recommendations to Member States made by the Organization of American States Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression. Lastly, this resolution urges the United States Agency for International Development and the Department of State to assist the media in closed societies to promote a free press.

"H. Res. 536 is an important tool to spread awareness about grave abuses against journalists and those seeking to express themselves freely in the Western Hemisphere. As the winds of change begin to sweep the region, it is now more important than ever for the United States to provide a voice to those democratic activists who seek nothing but a better future. Freedom of the press is a key ingredient for a healthy democracy, and I am proud to work closely with my friend and colleague, Albio Sires to defend democratic principles and fight the enemies of freedom," stated Rep. Ros-Lehtinen.

"I am proud to sponsor this legislation and grateful for the support of my colleagues in passing this resolution in committee. I look forward to working with my colleagues to bring H.Res. 536 for a vote on the House Floor," said Rep. Sires.

H.Res. 536 was approved in the committee unanimously and now awaits floor action in the full House of Representatives.

Text of H.Res. 536 can be seen here.