December 14, 2018 – Two critical bills introduced by Rep. Chris Smith were signed into law this week, reported WOBM.

The first law is a five-year extension of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), which includes $30 billion in funds to fight against the HIV/AIDs epidemic, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

“Each year we are closer and closer to achieving an AIDS-free world, and an AIDS-free generation, and my law will bring us one giant step closer to achieving this goal,” said Rep. Smith. “So much has been accomplished since the beginning of PEPFAR 15 years ago—more than 16 million lives have been saved because of the program.”

“And yet much more remains to be done—every week, according to UNAIDS approximately 19,000 people die of AIDS-related illnesses. Roughly 37 million people around the world are infected with HIV,” Rep. Smith said. “This law continues the fight against HIV/AIDS with the hope of one day eradicating this epidemic.”

The second new law is the Iraq and Syria Genocide Relief and Accountability Act which will help religious minorities who are targeted for genocide by the Islamic State by sending humanitarian aid to these minority communities, allowing United States government agencies to work with groups that are prosecuting IS perpetrators and urging foreign governments to assist the U.S. in apprehending and prosecuting perpetrators.

“When genocide or other atrocity crimes are perpetrated, the United States should direct some of its humanitarian, stabilization, and recovery aid to enable these groups to survive–especially when they are minorities whose existence as a people is at-risk,” Rep. Smith said. “My law would…help ensure our actions match our words. The future of endangered religious and ethnic minorities targeted by ISIS for genocide, and pluralism in the Middle East, will depend on help from the United States.”

Read the full WOBM article here.