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The United Nations Human Rights Council: Issues for Congress

Description: This report provides historical background of the United Nations Human Rights Council, including the role of the previous Commission. It discusses the Council's current mandate and structure, as well as U.S. policy and congressional actions. Finally, it highlights possible policy issues for the 112th Congress, including the overall effectiveness of the Council in addressing human rights, implications for U.S. membership, and U.S. financial contributions to the Council.
Date: February 4, 2014
Creator: Blanchfield, Luisa
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
open access

Satellite Surveillance: Domestic Issues

Description: Report that provides background on the development of intelligence satellites and identifies the roles various agencies play in their management and use. Issues surrounding the current policy and proposed changes are discussed, followed by a discussion of legal considerations.
Date: January 13, 2011
Creator: Best, Richard A., Jr. & Elsea, Jennifer K.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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Pilotless Drones: Background and Considerations for Congress Regarding Unmanned Aircraft Operations in the National Airspace System

Description: Report that covers the history and current status of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Particular attention is paid to recent privacy implications and potential intrusiveness of drone operations that have emerged as a significant issue before Congress. It also looks at the current Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) timeline to establish six test ranges throughout the United States to study unmanned aircraft integration technical issues.
Date: September 10, 2012
Creator: Elias, Bart
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
open access

National Security Letters in Foreign Intelligence Investigations: A Glimpse at the Legal Background

Description: This report discusses the USA PATRIOT Act (107-56) and its expanded authority to issue national security letters (NSLs). A report by the Department of Justice's Inspector General (IG) found that in its pre-amendment use of expanded USA PATRIOT Act authority the FBI had "used NSLs in violation of applicable NSL statutes, Attorney General Guidelines, and internal FBI policies," but that no criminal laws had been broken.
Date: January 3, 2014
Creator: Doyle, Charles
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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The Obama Administration's Open Government Initiative: Issues for Congress

Description: This report reviews the objectives delineated in President Obama's Open Government Initiative (OGI) and examines the expectations placed on agencies to meet these objectives. This report reviews department and agency attempts to implement Obama Administration initiatives that seek to make the federal government more transparent, participatory, and collaborative. The report then analyzes options for congressional action in this area.
Date: January 28, 2011
Creator: Ginsberg, Wendy R.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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Egypt: Background and U.S. Relations

Description: This report provides an overview of the key issues for Congress related to Egypt and information on U.S. foreign aid to Egypt. It briefly provides a political history of modern Egypt, an overview of its political institutions, and a discussion of the prospects for democratization in Egypt, as well as addressing the following current topics: the Arab-Israeli peace process, Iraq, terrorism, democratization and reform, human rights, trade, and military cooperation.
Date: June 5, 2014
Creator: Sharp, Jeremy M.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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The Freedom of Information Act and Nondisclosure Provisions in Other Federal Laws

Description: This report discusses Congressional considerations regarding how to balance the federal government's growing need for sensitive or confidential business information, the public's right of access to information about government activities, and the private sector's interest in keeping its sensitive or proprietary information protected from public disclosure. The report discusses this issue in light of particularly the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and other similar legislation.
Date: September 24, 2010
Creator: Stevens, Gina
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
open access

The United Nations Human Rights Council: Issues for Congress

Description: On March 15, 2006, the U.N. General Assembly passed a resolution replacing the Commission on Human Rights with a new Human Rights Council (the Council). The Council was designed to be an improvement over the Commission, which was widely criticized for the composition of its membership when perceived human rights abusers were elected as members. This report discusses the history of the Council, the previous participation of the Bush Administration, the current participation of the Obama Administ… more
Date: June 1, 2009
Creator: Blanchfield, Luisa
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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Human Rights in China: Trends and Policy Implications

Description: Human rights has long been a principal area of U.S. concern in its relations with the People's Republic of China (PRC). Policy makers are at odds regarding whether or not the U.S. policy of engagement with China has produced meaningful political reform. This report analyzes China's mixed record on human rights - major human rights problems, new human rights legislation, and the development of civil society, legal awareness, and social and political activism. This report discusses major areas of… more
Date: July 13, 2009
Creator: Lum, Thomas & Fischer, Hannah
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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Human Rights in China: Trends and Policy Implications

Description: This report analyzes China's mixed record on human rights -- major human rights problems, new human rights legislation, and the development of civil society, legal awareness, and social and political activism. This report discusses major areas of interest but does not provide an exhaustive account of all human rights abuses or related incidents.
Date: June 12, 2009
Creator: Lum, Thomas & Fischer, Hannah
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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Gun Control: Statutory Disclosure Limitations on ATF Firearms Trace Data and Multiple Handgun Sales Reports

Description: This report briefly describes a provision known as the "Tiahrt" amendment, a rider on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) appropriations that prohibits ATF from disclosing firearm trace data and multiple handgun sales reports data for any purpose other than supporting a criminal investigatoin or agency licensing proceeding. The Tiahrt amendment is so called because its sponsor is Representative Todd Tiahrt. A coalition of 210 city mayors favors the repeal of this rider… more
Date: May 27, 2009
Creator: Krouse, William J.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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Haiti: Efforts to Restore President Aristide, 1991-1994

Description: This report tracks the efforts to restore to office President Aristide of Haiti between the years 1991-1994. During this period, the main U.S. foreign policy concern was the restoration of the democratic process to Haiti. Closely related to this was the issue of Haitians attempting to flee to the United States by boat. Congressional concerns focused on human rights, Haitian migration, socioeconomic conditions, and drug trafficking.
Date: May 11, 1995
Creator: Taft-Morales, Maureen
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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The "Son of Sam" Case: Legislative Implications

Description: In Simon & Schuster, Inc. v. Members of the new York State Crime Victims Board, the U.S. Supreme Court held that New York State's "Son of Sam" law was inconsistent with the First Amendment's guarantee of freedom of speech and press. This report examines the Supreme Court decision and then considers whether its rationale renders the federal law unconstitutional. Concluding that it likely does, the report considers whether it would be possible to enact a constitutional Son-of-Sam statute. Finally… more
Date: November 30, 1998
Creator: Cohen, Henry
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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The Endangered Species Act and Private Property

Description: If the 103rd Congress embarks upon an effort to reauthorize the Endangered Species Act (ESA), it will run into an old acquaintance: the property rights issue. As now written, the ESA has at least the potential to curtail property rights (whatever its actual impact as implemented may be). This report explores the legal repercussions of those impacts, especially whether they constitute takings of property under the fifth amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
Date: March 7, 1993
Creator: Meltz, Robert
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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Iraq: Politics, Governance, and Human Rights

Description: Iraq's political transition from the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein to a plural polity that encompasses varying sects and ideological and political factions has been accomplished through a series of elections that began in 2005. However, disputes regarding various communities' claims on power and economic resources has contributed to popular frustration and continued political unrest. This report discusses these issues.
Date: April 19, 2011
Creator: Katzman, Kenneth
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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Detention of U.S. Persons as Enemy Belligerents

Description: This report provides a background to the National Defense Authorization Act for FY2012, the Authorization to use Military Force act, and the President's power to detain "enemy combatants." It then gives a brief introduction to the law of war pertinent to the detention of different categories of individuals and an overview of U.S. practice during wartime to detain persons deemed dangerous to national security. It concludes by discussion Congress's role in prescribing rules for wartime detention … more
Date: February 1, 2012
Creator: Elsea, Jennifer K.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
open access

The United Nations Human Rights Council: Issues for Congress

Description: This report provides historical background of the Council, including the role of the previous Commission. It discusses the Council's current mandate and structures, as well as U.S. policy and congressional actions. Finally, it highlights possible policy issues for the 112th Congress, including the overall effectiveness of the Council in addressing human rights, implications for U.S. membership, and U.S. financial contributions to the Council.
Date: July 18, 2011
Creator: Blanchfield, Luisa
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
open access

Cuba: U.S. Restrictions on Travel and Remittances

Description: The first half of this report looks at the background of U.S. travel restrictions to Cuba over the last 40 years. The second half of this report looks at several initiatives from the 110th Congress that would ease U.S. travel restrictions to Cuba.
Date: July 30, 2008
Creator: Sullivan, Mark P.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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