Human Rights

Statement on President Trump's Meeting With Egyptian President

"While we recognize that every American administration must, to some extent, deal with so-called "Friendly Tyrants" as they pursue America's complex interests abroad, we nonetheless believe that  we betray both our values and our interests when we give authoritarian regimes a "free pass" on their outrageous abuses of human rights. This is particularly true in the case of a country like Egypt which has been the recipient of vast sums of foreign aid from the United States for over 4 decades. We must use our leverage with the Egyptian government to encourage greater respect for international human rights and the fundamental principles of rule of law. A good place to begin would be by demanding that the Egyptian government release the American prisoners it is holding. Human rights organizations, congressional leaders, and legal experts have all agreed that individuals like Aya Hijazi have been unfairly targeted with outrageous and false charges. It is time for our government to stand up and demand their release."

Solidarity Sabbath - Spotlight on China

Advance the Freedom of Religion, Conscience, and Belief

Religious and spiritual believers in today’s China are being persecuted in ways not seen since Mao's Cultural Revolution 40 years ago. On the weekend of May 20-22, 2016, religious and spiritual communities around the world will join together in the 2016 Solidarity Sabbath to highlight the strength and bravery of Chinese citizens who courageously live out their faith despite threats of harassment, imprisonment, and even torture by the ruling Communist Party.

Freedom of religion, conscience, and belief is a vital human rights issue for all global citizens, and you have a chance to help highlight the plight of the millions of Chinese denied this basic entitlement. Whether it is encouraging your faith community’s leadership to participate in the Solidarity Sabbath or petitioning your government to take part, there are so many ways to make a difference.

Learn more at SolidaritySabbath.org

Desperate China crushing its own people: USA Today. By: Chen Guangcheng & Katrina Lantos Swett

"Since July 10, Chinese authorities have been detaining human rights lawyers and activists in unprecedented numbers. An estimated 250 have been taken into custody. Police and thugs are grabbing people from their homes and offices, and even from restaurants, without warning or rationale. They are being interrogated, threatened and accused of fabricated crimes. Many are being held without access to family, friends, legal representation, or any other semblance of due process under the law."

Continue reading:

http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2015/09/24/china-xi-jinping-visit-obama-human-rights-lawyers-column/72671716/

Lantos Foundation statement on the death of Oswaldo Paya

The Lantos Foundation joins countless others in mourning the tragic death of Oswaldo Paya, one of Cuba’s foremost human rights leaders. Paya, a devout Roman Catholic, drew strength from his faith as he relentlessly pressed for democratic change in his homeland for over three decades. He was one of the chief organizers of the Varela Project, a peaceful grass roots petition drive that was the single largest challenge to the repressive decades long rule of Fidel Castro. He was also an original founder of the Christian Liberation Movement which emphasized non-violent civic action. Congressman Lantos was a great admirer of Oswaldo Paya and considered him to be one of the true heroes of democracy in the Western hemisphere.

Questions have been raised about the death of Paya in a car accident in La Gavina, near the eastern city of Bayamo. There are allegations that his car may have been pushed off the road and there have been numerous calls for an independent investigation into the circumstances surrounding his death.

Katrina Lantos Swett, President of the Lantos Foundation said;

“The Lantos Foundation concurs with those who have asked that there be a free and independent accounting of the events that led to the untimely death of this great man. The world is poorer today for the loss of a man of such integrity, courage, and faith but no doubt heaven has been made richer by the arrival of Oswaldo Paya. May his work for a free, democratic and peaceful Cuba continue with renewed strength in honor of his memory”.