Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission 11th Anniversary

Since 2008 the bipartisan Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission has worked to promote, defend and advocate for international human rights in complex and challenging circumstances around the world. Through dozens of hearings, briefings, statements, letters and other actions, and by taking up cases of prisoners of conscience, the Commission has sought to live up to the legacy of the late Congressman Tom Lantos and his steadfast commitment to ensure the protection and promotion of the individual, universal freedoms endowed upon every human being.

The Commission’s work over the last decade would not have been possible without the support and expertise of a broad coalition of organizations and partners.

The Commission is the home of the “Defending Freedom’s Project”  which supports prisoners of conscience around the world. DFP partners include the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, Amnesty International USA, Reporters without Borders, Freedom House, Freedom Now and Scholars at Risk. 

DFP aims to increase attention to human rights abuses by encouraging Members of Congress to advocate on behalf of prisoners of conscience wherever they may be found. The project allows Members to stand in solidarity with prisoners of conscience, let them know they have not been forgotten, and encourage accountability for unjust treatment.

Any Member of Congress who chooses to support the case of a prisoner is provided with a detailed toolkit to help facilitate in his/her advocacy efforts.  By taking on a prisoner’s case, the Member could contribute to the release or reduction of a prison sentence or the improvement of prison conditions, while also raising awareness about the unjust laws or policies that led to imprisonment.

The project is flexible, allowing Members to determine and pursue different advocacy activities.