father patrick desbois

Anti-Genocide Activist Father Patrick Desbois to Receive 2017 Lantos Human Rights Prize

The Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice is proud to announce that our highest honor, the Lantos Human Rights Prize, will be awarded to Father Patrick Desbois, President and founder of the international human rights organization Yahad In-Unum. Father Desbois is being recognized as the 2017 Lantos Prize recipient for his unparalleled work in uncovering the lost stories of over one million victims of the “Holocaust by Bullets” period of World War II as well as his continuing fight against anti-Semitism and genocide throughout the world. 

The Lantos Foundation will present their most distinguished prize at a ceremony in Washington, D.C. on October 26, 2017, at the U.S. Capitol. Father Desbois joins a distinguished community of prior Lantos Laureates that includes the Dalai Lama, Hillary Clinton, Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel, and most recently Vian Dakhil (aka “ISIS’ Most Wanted”), who was recognized for her courageous defense of the Yazidi people. It is fitting that Father Desbois should receive the Prize the year following Ms. Dakhil, as he has been outspoken in defense of her Yazidi community - a 21st century victim of genocide at the hands of ISIS.

“At a time when anti-Semitic acts are surging globally, Father Desbois’ work is more important than ever,” said Lantos Foundation President Katrina Lantos Swett. “Exposing the truth, honoring the victims, and memorializing these events are vital safeguards against a repetition of these horrors. But Father Desbois’ work is about more than rescuing and remembering the past. His truly universal calling is to act on behalf of all victims of mass violence, persecution, and murder. The Lantos Foundation is truly honored to recognize him for this noble mission.”

The Lantos Foundation established the Lantos Human Rights Prize in 2009 to honor and bring attention to heroes of the human rights movement. It is awarded annually to an individual or organization that best exemplifies the Foundation’s mission, namely to be a vital voice standing up for the values of decency, dignity, freedom, and justice in every corner of the world. The prize also serves to honor the memory and legacy of the late Congressman Tom Lantos, the only Holocaust survivor ever elected to the U.S. Congress and a leading advocate for human rights during his nearly three decades as a U.S. Representative.