Congressman Lowenthal focused his attention this week on human rights abuses in Vietnam and what America can do to restore freedom and democracy to the Vietnamese people.
As the newest member of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission and the Congressional Caucus on Vietnam, the Congressman had a busy week of meeting with prominent Vietnamese American community leaders and attending Congressional human rights hearings in response to the growing concern of human rights violations in Vietnam.
Members of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission promote, defend, and advocate internationally recognized human rights norms in a nonpartisan manner, both within and outside of Congress; and, members of the bipartisan Congressional Caucus on Vietnam regularly hold briefings, press conferences, and other meetings to highlight Vietnam's abuse of religious freedom, labor rights, and other civil and political liberties.
On June 3, Congressman Lowenthal met with Orange County Supervisor Janet Nguyen and local Vietnamese-American human rights activists to discuss the ongoing human rights issues in Vietnam, including the prosecution of democratic bloggers and ethnic minorities.
On June 4, the Congressman continued this theme -- taking the lead role in a House Committee on Foreign Affairs Subcommittee hearing on human rights in Vietnam. During the hearing, he called on the United States to continue pressuring Vietnam to improve its human rights record prior to joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Holly Ngo, a resident of Garden Grove, was welcomed by the Congressman and testified before the Subcommittee on the issue of the Vietnamese government's expropriation of property belonging to Vietnamese Americans.
Later that day, the Congressman was able to meet with Gia Ly, Chair-elect of the Vietnamese American Chamber of Commerce to discuss the small business needs of the more than 400 Orange County Vietnamese businesses the group represents.
"It is an honor and a privilege to be able to work with these great organizations in the Vietnamese American community. They are counting on me to be a strong supporter of human rights in Vietnam, and I will not stop advocating for those who are denied human dignity and freedom," said Congressman Alan Lowenthal. "My advocacy for human rights in Vietnam will not waver until real democratic reforms are made and the Vietnamese people are truly free."
On June 5, the Congressman attended another Foreign Affairs Subcommittee hearing on U.S.-Vietnam relations.