Praise Congress for Focusing on Human Rights

Target: Rep. Frank R. Wolf of Virginia and Rep. James P. McGovern of Massachusetts, co-chairs of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission (TLHRC)

Goal: Commend Congress for refocusing its attention on international human rights causes.

Despite facing a myriad of domestic problems, the United States has a responsibility to defend human rights worldwide. The Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission (TLHRC), a bipartisan effort within Congress, understands this. Commend the commission for its newest initiative, the Defending Freedoms Project, and encourage its members to continue pursuing effective avenues for promoting human rights both at home and abroad.

The Defending Freedoms Project will focus on bringing attention to individual cases of human rights abuses. According to Amnesty International’s Human Rights Now blog, “[m]embers of Congress will ‘adopt’ at least one political prisoner, using their clout to highlight each case and push for an end to the human rights violations to which the highlighted individual is being subjected.” In addition to its focus on individual cases, the project encourages members of Congress to pressure governments to pass legislation protecting basic rights like freedom of religion and expression, access to fair trials, and freedom from torture and abuse.

The plan is promising, since it will allow participating members of Congress to inform their constituents about human rights causes around the world and will provide them the opportunity to really understand and care about the causes they are assigned. Hopefully this new project will, in the words of Amnesty International, help Congress “[reclaim] some of its human rights mojo.”

Help the project become a success. Let Representatives Frank Wolf and James McGovern, co-chairs of the TLHRC, know that you support and appreciate their efforts toward a brighter future for human rights.


Dear Representative Wolf and Representative McGovern,

I am writing to express my sincere support and appreciation for the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission’s latest initiative, the Defending Freedoms Project. Such an effort is long overdue and is a very welcome addition to the world of human rights activism.

In a time when the United States is facing so many controversial domestic issues, there must be immense pressure for members of Congress to disengage from the rest of the world and focus solely on problems at home. However, human rights–both here in the United States and abroad–are pressing issues as well, ones in which the lives of individuals or even entire groups hang in the balance. Therefore, I commend you for making sure that these issues receive the proper attention.

Thank you for making sure that the United States makes human rights a top priority.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Matti Mattila via Flickr

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