(202) 225 - 3130
Hoyer Condemns Use of
Human Shields in Armed Conflict
WASHINGTON, DC - House Majority Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement today in support of H.R. 125, a bill by Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Ranking Member on the Foreign Affairs Committee, that expresses deep concern over the use of civilians as human shields during armed conflict. The bill was passed by the House late this afternoon:
"Last summer, Hezbollah militants kidnapped two Israeli soldiers and instigated an armed conflict in which they indiscriminately fired thousands of rockets and mortar shells into Israel with the hope of inflicting as many civilian casualties as possible.
"And what was most disturbing about Hezbollah's actions was not that they targeted innocent men, women and children with their attacks - the world has come to expect such cowardly tactics from terrorist organizations that are dedicated to inflicting anguish and destruction.
"Rather, it was the fact that Hezbollah embedded their equipment and bases of operations amid the Lebanese civilian population - effectively using them as "human shields" to protect them from retaliation.
"This brutal exploitation of a civilian population - and others like it that take place all too often in areas controlled by Hezbollah and Hamas - stands in direct violation of international humanitarian law and laws of war during armed conflict.
"Today, I am proud to join with my fellow Members of Congress in condemning the use of human shields in armed conflict - and I stand with all of the people of the world who understand that the role of a soldier is to protect civilians, not exploit them for security or political gain."