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Public Statements

Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission Establishment Resolution

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Location: Washington, DC


TOM LANTOS HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION ESTABLISHMENT RESOLUTION -- (House of Representatives - September 23, 2008)

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Mr. PITTS. Madam Speaker, I rise in strong support of H. Res. 1451, which would form a permanent Human Rights Commission in the House of Representatives. As we've heard, we currently have a Human Rights Caucus here in the House which does great work on behalf of many of those around the world that simply lack a voice. This resolution would create a Commission that would ensure the activities of the Caucus would be more stable and permanent by creating a budget and a permanent staff devoted to working on these issues.

I want to thank all of the various parties that have worked on getting this legislation to the floor so quickly, including the leadership on each side of the aisle.

This resolution is aptly named after our friend and colleague, Tom Lantos, who passed away earlier this year. Tom was a survivor of one of the most heinous crimes against humanity, the Holocaust, and he dedicated his public service to ensuring that good people would not stand silently by while people were deprived of their most basic, God-given rights.

The resolution would establish the permanent Commission in order to promote and advocate in a nonpartisan manner, both inside and outside Congress, internationally recognized human rights norms.

Our Founding Fathers believed that we are born with certain unalienable rights, namely, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and they established in our Constitution, in the very first amendment, the rights of freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly, redress of grievances.

And yet we live in a world where people are deprived each day of even these most basic rights. We have a duty, as fellow human beings, to speak out against these most depraved violations of human rights.

The creation of this Commission will dedicate the necessary resources to ensure that the Members of this great body are informed on this issue, and have an opportunity to affect real change in the lives of people who need it most around the world.

I urge support for this resolution.

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