I have good news to report from Washington,
Just moments ago, President Trump signed the Fiscal Year 2020 Appropriations Bill, which will boost our work in two ways:
1. The following language advancing unarmed civilian protection is contained in the report accompanying the bill:
Unarmed civilian protection—The Committee urges the Secretary of State, in consultation with the USAID Administrator, to consider the future use of unarmed civilian protection organizations and evaluate the potential use of such organizations to provide direct physical protection to civilian populations, to strengthen the local non-violent peacekeeping capacity of communities currently experiencing or at risk of violent conflict, and to assist United States-funded stabilization efforts.
Getting the Secretary of State and USAID to consider both unarmed civilian protection and local non-violent peacekeeping is a BIG deal!
2. Secondly, language restoring funds for the State Department that were rescinded by the Trump administration without Congressional approval is also included in the bill.
The agreement directs the Department of State to fully restore $40,026,539 in Economic Support Fund that lapsed at the end of the fiscal year 2019 due to apportionment and obligation delays, including $35,379,246 for the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (DRL). Such programs shall be funded at not less than the previously planned levels and are in addition to any amounts identified for fiscal years 2019 and 2020 programs.
Included in the DRL funding lapse was a $1.8 million grant to Nonviolent Peaceforce that was to be used for our work in Iraq.
Hundreds of you wrote and called your Members of Congress and Senators about supporting unarmed civilian protection. In fact, we had staff for one key Senator tell us that everyone in their office knew about unarmed civilian protection and we did not have to generate any more phone calls! Included in the DRL funding lapse was a $1.8 million grant to Nonviolent Peaceforce that was to be used for our work in Iraq.
PLEASE CALL YOUR REPRESENTATIVE AND SENATORS AND THANK THEM FOR “SUPPORTING UNARMED CIVILIAN PROTECTION AND NONVIOLENT PEACEKEEPING AS INCLUDED IN THE APPROPRIATION BILL.”
I also want to thank Bob Van Heuvelen, Bobby Cunningham and the rest of the staff at VH Strategies for providing pro-bono lobbying services. We truly could not have done this without them and you. Thank you.
Have a Wonder-Full holiday.