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  • Foreign policy experts and rights advocates praised Omar’s bill package as a major step forward for left-wing foreign policy.

    Foreign policy experts and rights advocates praised Omar’s bill package as a major step forward for left-wing foreign policy. | Photo: Reuters

Published 12 February 2020

The congresswoman reflects on her history as a refugee and shares her hope that no one else will go through the same experience.

Rep. Ilhan Omar from Minnesota unveiled Wednesday an ambitious proposal for a more ethical and humane way for the United States (U.S.) to approach its foreign policies.

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"As a child, I survived war, I have first-hand experience with how destructive war could be not only for the children but also for the country and for the future hopes and dreams of a whole nation," Omar says in a video announcing her plan.

The high profile first-term representative reflects on her history as a child refugee and expresses her hope that no one else will go through the same experience.

"What I believe is important is for us to actually lead the charge in creating a pathway for peace around the world. We can have an opportunity where we set a red line for human rights violations."

Omar designed a series of laws calling for the end of arms sales to countries violating human rights, and the establishment of policies aimed at protecting and promoting the rights of children, among other issues.

Her proposal dubbed Path to PEACE calls for the U.S. to cease to act unilaterally for its interests as it has for decades. The congresswoman urges her country to start seeking collaboration with other nations and the United Nations (U.N.) and giving priority to human rights and other areas of global cooperation.

"I believe that when the United States says it champions human rights, democracy, and peace, we should mean it!"

The Somali-born Democrat shared a copy of her plan with HuffPost, which reported that "the suite of proposals would initiate tighter scrutiny of U.S. support to countries that commit abuses and transfer US$5 billion in wartime funding to a new Global Peacebuilding Fund." 

Concerning the issue of economic sanctions, her proposal would give Congress new responsibility for approving and assessing them when they come via emergency declarations from the White House, the HuffPost reported. 

Economic sanctions are a war tool that many experts consider Washinton overuses it. Omar's proposal would bring new accountability to an instrument that successive U.S. presidents treated as a perfect alternative to military intervention, even though it provokes severe humanitarian crises, and slowly kill the most vulnerable people.

Foreign policy experts and rights advocates praised Omar's bill package as a significant step forward for a left-wing foreign policy.

"Progressives have often been accused of lacking a coherent approach to foreign policy," policy director for Win Without War Kate Kizer said in a statement. 

"In reality, we have simply lacked the power and elected representation to demand progressive values be translated into foreign policymaking. Today, Representative Ilhan Omar has taken a significant step toward changing that."

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