Annette Lantos was responsible for many of the most important human rights initiatives undertaken by Tom Lantos and was an acknowledged human rights leader in her own right. Annette Lantos' evolution from wife, mother, and educator to activist began in the late 1970's when she first learned that the hero who had saved her during the Holocaust might still be alive and languishing in a Soviet prison. We spoke with Annette about that hero - Raoul Wallenberg, the incredible impact he had on her life, and the example he is to all of us.
Joshua Wong was only 17 when he led the 2014 Umbrella Movement fighting for Hong Kong's democratization. His inspirational mobilization of over 100,000 Hong Kong citizens to engage in peaceful protest on behalf of democracy and the rule of law captivated the world and galvanized a generation of young people to become activists and to peacefully resist Chinese control of their government. Joshua and his fellow Occupy leaders have been nominated for the Nobel Prize and we were honored to have him join us on The Keeper.
We applaud the commendable efforts of Benedict Rogers to publicize the harassment he, his family, and his neighbors have faced from China in response to his efforts to ensure freedom, human rights, and rule of law in Hong Kong. Reading his tales of anonymous letters containing veiled threats, the danger faced by those who dare to challenge the absolute power of the Chinese government is laid bare. As you read, please pause to consider how much worse it must be on a daily basis for Hong Kong based youth activists like Joshua Wong. If this level of harassment is happening to an established British citizen, then we can only imagine the pressure on Hong Kongers themselves. Joshua’s continued democracy work in the face of obvious threats from the Chinese government is exactly why he was chosen to receive the 10th Annual Tom Lantos Human Rights Prize later this year in Washington, DC.
On July 16th the world witnessed a stunning and deeply concerning press conference in which the President of the United States seemed to argue that there was a credibility equivalence between US intelligence agencies findings on Russian interference in the 2016 elections and the laughable denials of Vladimir Putin, a former KGB officer who many believe to be a cold blooded killer. Another outrageous moment during this memorable press event was when Putin suddenly launched an attack on Bill Browder, the brilliant and brave man behind the Sergei Magnitsky Accountability Act. Bill Browder’s herculean efforts to win the adoption of this ground breaking human rights law have done more to put actual teeth into the enforcement of human rights standards than almost any another initiative over the past two decades. It has also made him Putin’s No. 1 enemy and someone who daily faces the very real danger that Putin’s agents will succeed in murdering him as they have so many other so-called “enemies” of the Russian President.
Some months ago, we had the opportunity to speak with Bill Browder on The Keeper and, given the events of the past few days, we thought it would be very worthwhile and timely to
re-release our podcast with Mr. Browder from last Fall.
Our guest, Mrs. Rebiya Kadeer, is known as the “mother of the Uyghur nation”. She is the acknowledged global leader of the Uyghur people - a community of over 15 million living primarily in the East Turkestan region of China where this largely Muslim community has been subjected to discrimination, persecution, mass incarceration and cultural and religious oppression at the hands of the Chinese government.
With the help of an interpreter, Mrs. Kadeer spoke about the increase in persecution being experienced in East Turkestan, the Government’s efforts to intimidate her into silence by targeting her family members who are still in China, and why the US government should apply the Global Magnitsky Act to the Chinese official responsible for the outrages taking place in East Turkestan.
The world relies on brave journalists to tell the stories of those with no voice. One of the most serious global human rights crisis points happening today is in Myanmar, as the Rohingya Muslim minority is terrorized by the state military. It is an affront to the Rule of Law that the two Reuters journalists who simply reported on the growing massacre will now face trial and could be sentenced to over a decade in prison. It is especially shocking that Aung San Suu Kyi, who herself once suffered under a regime that ignored the Rule of Law, would be so compliant in allowing this kangaroo court case to move forward. We call on the Myanmar Government to release these journalists and focus on the most important issue at hand: restoring the rights and freedoms of the Rohingya people.
The Lantos Foundation joins leading NGO's to call upon the government of Pakistan to stop the discriminatory provisions in the electoral law of Pakistan that deny Ahmadis the right to vote due to their religious beliefs.
In a rare bit of good news, the Russian Council for Civil Society and Human Rights has called for an investigation into the legality of a number of criminal prosecutions of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia. This peaceful community has been subjected to outrageous persecution in Russia. Perhaps the injustice is becoming too much even for the Russians. Click the image below to read the translated article from The Council Under The President of the Russian Federation for the Development of Civil Society and Human Rights.