April 27, 2023

Young Leads Ukraine Human Rights Policy Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Todd Young (R-Ind.) and Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), along with U.S. Representatives Pat Fallon (R-TX-4) and Jimmy Panetta (D-CA-20), reintroduced the Ukraine Human Rights Policy Act of 2023. This legislation would implement a robust mechanism to hold the Russian Federation accountable for continued human rights violations and war crimes committed by Russian and Russia-aligned forces in Ukraine.

“I have met with the families of Ukrainian soldiers currently imprisoned by Russian thugs who have no idea if their loved ones are alive or dead. I have met with Ukrainians who have suffered in unspeakable ways going back to Russia’s first invasion of Crimea in 2014. Now, more than a year after this most recent invasion began, Russia’s egregious human rights abuses must be met with accountability, both today and in the future. We must now target those responsible for atrocities both on the battlefield and far beyond,” said Senator Young. “By ensuring strong sanctions are placed on the Russian Federation, this bill marks a step toward justice for the thousands of Ukrainians suffering at the hands of Russia’s barbaric aggression in Ukraine. I’m proud to lead this bipartisan bill to hold Vladimir Putin accountable and urge its passage by Congress.”

“We must ensure that the horrific atrocities committed by Russia against the Ukrainian people don’t go unanswered. As we continue to stand with Ukraine in pursuit of justice for crimes against humanity, I’m proud to join my colleagues in a bipartisan effort to hold Russia accountable for its human rights abuses,” said Senator Rosen.

“Since the beginning of the invasion, the world has seen Russia and its proxies commit every war crime imaginable. Vladimir Putin is responsible for the bombing of civilians, the forced kidnapping of approximately 200,000 children, the barbaric beheadings of Ukrainian POWs, and the execution of innocent civilians. These actions exemplify Vladimir Putin’s complete disregard for human life. The Russian Federation deserves to be held accountable for every civilian that they’ve killed and for every apartment building that they’ve bombed. The Ukraine Human Rights Policy Act of 2023 provides the United States more tools to accomplish this very goal and ensures justice for every man, woman, and child of Ukraine,” said Representative Fallon.

“Russia’s unprovoked, and unjustified invasion of Ukraine has been marked with numerous crimes against humanity that the United States, as the world’s leading democracy, must call out and condemn. Our bipartisan, bicameral Ukraine Human Rights Policy Act will target Russia’s unrelenting human rights abuses by instituting a framework to more swiftly and directly sanction those responsible, including Russian proxy forces, and hold them accountable for their ruthless actions. Through this legislation we ensure the United States has the authority to respond to Putin’s inhumanity and continue to uphold our commitment to stand with the Ukrainians in their fight for their democracy as well as their humanity,” said Representative Panetta.

Specifically, the Ukraine Human Rights Policy Act would:

  1. Establish a congressional nomination process for human rights sanctions in Sec. 228 of Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA);  

  2. Amend the Sense of Congress in Sec. 252 of CAATSA to solidify support for Ukraine and to further condemn the Russian Federation and its use of paramilitary organizations;

  3. Require the annual State Department human rights report to include details on human rights abuses in Ukraine and details on forced relocation and detention by Russia.