WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressmen Randy Hultgren (R-IL) and James P. McGovern (D-MA), Co-Chairs of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, along with six other members of Congress, have introduced House Resolution 750 calling for the designation of a “Prisoners of Conscience Day”.
Res. 750 highlights the injustices that prisoners of conscience face in spite of international human rights standards that are meant to protect the fundamental freedoms of all individuals worldwide. Prisoners of conscience are persons imprisoned for the peaceful expression of their political, religious, or other conscientiously held beliefs, even though they have neither used nor advocated for violence.
In addition to urging President Trump to designate a “Prisoners of Conscience Day,” the resolution draws attention to the Defending Freedoms Project coordinated by the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, in collaboration with the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) and a broad coalition of human rights organizations, including Amnesty International USA, Reporters Without Borders, Freedom House, Freedom Now, and Scholars At Risk. Through the project, Members of Congress select individual prisoners, advocate on their behalf, and shine a spotlight on the repressive laws and policies of the governments holding them, in order to call the authorities to account and ideally help set the prisoners free. Scholars at Risk joined the NGO coalition of the Defending Freedoms Project on February 16, 2018.
“While prisoners of conscience have been forced into silence, Congress has not. We urge our colleagues to support H. Res. 750 to send a signal to prisoners of conscience world-wide that they are not forgotten, and that Members of the United States Congress will stand by them and advocate on their behalf.”
The full text of the resolution is available here.