House seeks help for Somalis held in Kenya

Minnesota is home to the largest Somali population in the U.S. and several members of the Twin Cities Somali community were before the House Rules and Legislative Administration Committee last week seeking support for a resolution denouncing the detention and torture of Somali people in Kenya.

Sponsored by Rep. Karen Clark (DFL-Mpls), the memorial resolution, HF3368, was passed by the House 116-0 on Tuesday. It now moves to the Senate where Sen. Jeff Hayden (DFL-Mpls) is the sponsor.

The resolution urges the president and Congress to take “every possible action to safeguard the security of the innocent noncombatant Somali men, women, and children in Kenya.”

[Learn more about resolutions]

According to the resolution, on April 2, Kenyan police, in an effort to root out terrorists, arrested nearly 4,000 Somalis or Kenyans of Somali origin. It further noted that Human Rights Watch witnessed whippings, beatings and verbal abuse of detainees who were “packed by the hundreds into cells that were designed to accommodate 20 people and were filthy with urine and excrement.”

A memorial resolution is defined in House Rules as: "A statement of facts being forwarded for action to a governmental official, agency, or body or other similar proposal is a memorial and must be introduced in the same form and take the same course as a bill."

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    Lee Ann Schutz Wahi

    Lee Ann Wahi blogs at B-Ville News, "because telling Burnsville’s stories enriches my life."