Ed Markey believes that America's foreign policy should respect and uphold internationally-recognized principles of human rights. Our country has an important leadership role to play in providing hope to those around the world who are denied the right to vote in free and fair elections, the right to organize politically, the right of citizens to engage in political dissent and peaceful protest.
America also has a responsibility to play a leadership role when human rights are being violated by governments who engage in political repression, murder, torture, "ethnic cleansing" or genocide.
Ed is a member of the Human Rights Caucus in the House, and has formerly served on the Helsinki Commission, which monitored human rights in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. Most recently, Ed has:
*Introduced the Torture Outsourcing Prevention Act (H.R. 952) to bar the CIA and the FBI from transferring prisoners seized in the U.S. or abroad to foreign countries known to routinely practice torture (a practice known as "extraordinary rendition"). The legislation is endorsed by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and other human rights and public interest organizations. Amnesty International has called the Markey bill a "critically important piece of legislation" that would "go a long was towards re-establishing the United States' reputation as a nation that leads the world on human rights."
*On four separate occasions, Rep. Markey passed amendments to appropriations bills prohibiting the use of funds in contravention of the international Convention against Torture. Each of these amendments passed with near-unanimity.
*Introduced five Resolutions of Inquiry demanding all documents relating to Maher Arar, the Canadian citizen who was an innocent victim of the Bush Administration's practice of extraordinary rendition. Mr. Arar was seized at New York's JFK International Airport and transferred by American authorities to Syria where he was held for nearly a year, suffered torture, and was finally released without charge. A Canadian investigation completely cleared Mr. Arar's name.
*Opposed the Bush Administration's Military Commissions Act which legalized many interrogation practices that are barred as torture by the Geneva Conventions. Rep. Markey argued that by encouraging other countries to abandon their observance of the Geneva Conventions, President Bush's legislation puts the men and women of the U.S. armed forces at risk of torture if captured on the battlefield.
*Supported legislation recognizing the massacre of millions of Armenians during and after World War I as a genocide, and urged both Presidents Clinton and Bush to formally recognize the crimes perpetrated against the Armenians as a genocide.