Religious Freedom

Lantos Foundation Statement - The Death of James Foley

The brutal murder of James Foley has once again reminded the world of the extraordinary stakes in the ongoing struggle between the forces of human rights and democracy and those of barbarism, repression, and savagery. The Jihadists of ISIS and their ilk are truly enemies of all mankind. From their threatened genocide against the Yazidi community to their "convert or die” ultimatum against the ancient Christian communities of Syria and Iraq, they have demonstrated conclusively that their vicious cruelty knows no bounds, nor will it respect any national boundaries. It is incumbent upon responsible leaders to recognize that unless this evil force is confronted and defeated, it will find its way to our own shores and our own doorsteps.

The Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice calls upon the leaders of the civilized world to act decisively and in concert to defend the fundamental human rights of the imperiled people in the path of this murderous horde. James Foley courageously sacrificed his life to bring the story of this suffering region to the world’s attention and his tragic death must strengthen the world’s resolve to defeat this grave threat to humanity.

Once again, the words of Congressman Lantos sound prophetically in our ears; “The veneer of civilization is paper thin. We are its guardians and we can never rest”. 

Meriam Ibrahim Arrives in New Hampshire - Statement from Katrina Lantos Swett

"Over the past several months the world has watched with bated breath as Meriam Ibrahim, a beautiful young mother from Sudan, defied the prosecutors and persecutors in her country who had threatened her with whippings and death if she did not renounce her Christian faith. Meriam refused to give in to this state sponsored intimidation and even gave birth to her new daughter while shackled in a Sudanese prison. Mrs. Ibrahim is a true profile in courage and dignity and has inspired advocates for religious liberty and human rights around the world. Thankfully, she has now arrived in New Hampshire where she and her family will be able to live in security and peace. It is fitting that the Granite State will be Meriam's new home. Our well known motto in New Hampshire is "Live free or die", exemplifying our profound commitment to individual liberty and fundamental human rights. Meriam Ibrahim is a living embodiment of this creed and from her example we should all draw renewed determination to stand up for the rights and dignity of people in every corner of the world."

Katrina Lantos Swett Appointed to the United States Commission on Internatio​nal Religious Freedom

The Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice is pleased to announce that Katrina Lantos Swett has been appointed to the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF). The appointment was made on Monday, March 26th, 2012 by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

The USCIRF was created by Congress as part of the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 and reauthorized by Congress in 2011. The nine Commissioners of this independent, bipartisan advisory body are appointed by the President of the United States and the leadership of both parties in the House and Senate. The Commission’s principalresponsibilities are to review the facts and circumstances of violations of religious freedom internationally and to make policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State and Congress.

“As a daughter of Holocaust survivors, I have a profound connection to the issue of religious freedom and a deep understanding of the role that such freedoms can play in our country’s foreign policy decisions.  I am deeply honored to be appointed to the USCIRF and look forward to serving alongside my esteemed fellow Commissioners,” Swettsaid.

Dr. Katrina Lantos Swett established the Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice in 2008 to carry on the legacy of her late father, Congressman Tom Lantos the cofounder of the Congressional Human Rights Caucus and the only survivor of the Holocaust ever to serve in the US Congress.  Dr. Lantos Swett currently serves as the Foundation’sPresident and Chief Executive Officer. She teaches Human Rights and American Foreign Policy at Tufts University.  Katrina has also taught at the University of Southern Denmark, served as Director of the Graduate Program in Public Policy at New England College, and worked for then-Senator Joe Biden as Deputy Counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee – Criminal Justice Subcommittee.

Swett graduated from Yale University with a degree in Political Science.  She received a Juris Doctor degree from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, and later earned a PhD in history at The University of Southern Denmark on the topic of Human Rights and American Foreign Policy.

Katrina Lantos Swett is married to Richard Swett, former U.S. Congressman and U.S. Ambassador to Denmark. They are the proud parents of seven children and two grandchildren.  The Swetts reside in Bow, New Hampshire.