We were thrilled to be joined by Ensaf Haidar, the wife of imprisoned Saudi blogger Raif Badawi. Raif’s unjust imprisonment and lashing has become an international human rights cause, thanks in no small measure to the tireless efforts of Ensaf. She has become the face of the movement to free Raif. Despite all of Ensaf’s apparent physical daintiness, there can be no mistaking her strength and determination when it comes to leading the fight to free her husband.
In July of 1938, representatives of 32 nations were summoned to Evian France at the call of President Franklin Roosevelt to try to find a solution to the Jewish refugee problem - a crisis precipitated by the increasingly draconian and violent persecution of Jews in Germany and Austria.
The conference, which began with high hopes and high-minded rhetoric, was to end in abject failure. The assembled nations refused to open their hearts and their shores to the persecuted Jews of Europe and their abdication of moral responsibility was taken by Hitler as a green light to move forward with his genocidal "final solution".
In July of this year, a symposium was convened in the same Hotel Royale where the 1938 gathering was held. The purpose of this event was to consider the lessons and warnings of The Evian Conference on its 80th anniversary.
Dr. Katrina Lantos Swett, President of the Lantos Foundation and host of our podcast, was invited to give the keynote address for the symposium. Her insights and analysis are informed not only by her years of leadership and activism within the human rights community, but also by the lessons she learned as the daughter of Hungarian Holocaust survivors. We are happy to share Dr. Lantos Swett's remarks with you.
We welcome back the Chair of the Lantos Foundation, Annette Lantos. For more than two decades, by the side of Congressman Tom Lantos, she worked as the unpaid Executive Director of the Congressional Human Rights Caucus.
She 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.
Lantos Foundation Calls on Russia to Release all New Documents on Raoul Wallenberg
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.
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.
What does it mean to be a mother? The word brings to mind ideas of love, sacrifice, devotion, and a determination never to give up on one’s children. It is both an immense responsibility and a privilege to be a mother. So, what does it mean to be a mother of a whole people? 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.
One woman has stood in defiance of the Communist party’s attempt to undermine the Uyghur nation. Rebiya Kadeer, a self-made woman who through her own ingenuity and drive became one of the wealthiest women in China, put her life, her fortune, and her sacred honor on the line when she chose to defy the Chinese authorities and challenge their treatment of the Uyghurs in East Turkestan. She was imprisoned for many years and since her release, she has led her people from exile as she fights to bring the world’s attention to the grave injustices being perpetrated in her home.
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.
On a bitter cold Christmas eve in 1944, a little Jewish girl, 13 years old but with her diminutive size and Shirley Temple curls looked closer to 8, kissed her mother goodbye and alone began to make her way towards the Swiss border.
A short while earlier, they had fled from Hungary where Jews were facing deportation and death at the hands of the Nazi occupiers. The family had sought refuge in Switzerland, but the Swiss had expelled them. They had heard that children alone might be given refuge and so with fearful broken hearts, they said goodbye and this child walked with her little suitcase in hand towards the barbed wire of no-man’s land.
Mrs. Annette Lantos shares some of her story of that terrible night and how she survived to become one of our country’s great advocates for human rights all around the world.
Over fifty years ago the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. spoke about the fierce urgency of now as he sought to make America at long last live up to the promises of our founding. Our guest on this episode of The Keeper is another man of the cloth, Father Patrick Desbois, who understands the fierce urgency of history and the need to document it and claim its secrets before all the witnesses to the past are gone. Father Desbois is the author of the book “The Holocaust by Bullets”, which recounts his mission to uncover the truth behind the murder of 1.5 million Jews in the Ukraine. With utter dedication and quiet determination, Father Desbois has succeeded in breaking the code of silence and the cloak of invisibility surrounding these unimaginable crimes.
Bill Browder, founder of Hermitage Capital, has become an unlikely human rights crusader who was almost single-handedly responsible for the adoption of the Magnitsky Act, a groundbreaking piece of human rights legislation. Bill and Katrina recently had the chance to talk about his life and the singular, tragic injustice that transformed him from an international financier to an international advocate for human rights and the rule of law.
Businessman Bill Browder Details Dealings With Russian Lawyer Tied To Trump - NPR
Red Notice: A True Story of High Finance, Murder, and One Man’s Fight for Justice by Bill Browder
Bill Browder Senate Testimony - Full Text
In 2018, The Lantos Foundation re-released Mr. Browder's episode in wake of the July 16th 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. To listen to Bill Browder's episode of The Keeper with Dr. Lantos Swett's updated introductory comments, click here.
Recently, Katrina sat down to speak with Mr. Jared Genser and Dr. Yang Jianli. Jared is the founder of Freedom Now, an independent nongovernmental organization that works to free prisoners of conscience around the world. He is often referred to in the media as "the extractor" for his work as a leading human rights lawyer on behalf of prisoners of conscience. Dr. Yang Jianli, founder of Initiatives for China, is a Chinese dissident who was detained and imprisoned by the Chinese government in the early 2000's for his activism. Katrina spoke with these two extraordinary men about how they came to be human rights activists, the shameful death of Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo in Chinese custody, the Chinese governments moral bankruptcy, the underlying political weakness that the regime is desperate to hide, and a bold prediction from Jianli regarding the Chinese regime's inevitable end.