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Human Rights and Civil Rights

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Human Rights and Civil Rights


“As Americans, we must protect human rights – the right to live freely with dignity and respect and without the threat of violence or repression – both at home and abroad.”

Global Human Rights 

Human rights violations that are committed around the world must not go unnoticed and unreported. I believe that the United States must be a leader in the promotion of global human rights, especially with our trade partners and international allies. Increased trade and relations with countries around the world should go hand in hand with the advancement of human rights. As a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, I am proud to advocate for strong human rights protections in every avenue of America’s foreign relations.
 

Our children must be reminded of the struggles and the cost of seeking and maintaining true freedom. We must continue to stand in solidarity with people around the world who still fight for freedom, justice, and human dignity.

I have introduced resolutions each year honoring the anniversary of Human Rights Day and supporting the ideals of universal human rights, reaffirming the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and encouraging all nations to continue working towards freedom, peace, and security, which can be achieved only through democracy, respect for human rights, and the rule of law.

Congress, and the world, must recognize that those who are denied basic human rights, such as the freedoms of speech and religious or political expression, are therefore denied an opportunity to be treated with respect and dignity.

Civil Rights For All Americans

Dr. Martin Luther King’s historic “I Have A Dream” speech inspired a nation. In 1963, hundreds of thousands of Americans called for fundamental social and economic justice for all Americans, at a time when many public facilities in regions of the country were still segregated.  Dr. King helped to awaken the conscience of the country. His activism, and motivation of everyday Americans, resulted in Congress enacting the Civil Rights Act in 1964, the most sweeping civil rights bill since Reconstruction.

We must strive for an America that has achieved Dr. King’s vision of an America where "we the people" have not only secured the blessings of liberty, but have extended them to all people. Over the last 50 years, key progress has been made in moving toward the vision of America that Dr. King laid out in his ‘I Have A Dream’ speech. And yet more progress needs to be made.

Recently, the 50th Anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery March was commemorated in Alabama with many of our nation’s leaders, including President Obama and Rep. John Lewis, who was a leader at the same march 50 years ago. This seminal march led to the signing of the Voting Rights Act. President Obama's address at the foot of the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma was a strong reaffirmation of what we as a nation have accomplished over the past 50 years and yet, how far we still have to go.  That is why is it is imperative that Congress act to restore the Voting Rights Act so that our nation continues to protect voters from discrimination on the basis of race, color, or membership in a language minority group.  I believe every person's right to vote is absolutely fundamental to our democracy and must be protected.

Human Rights in Vietnam

America must show global leadership that reflects the ideals we cherish—freedom, democracy, human rights, and respect for people as individuals. The annual commemoration of the Fall of Saigon reminds us that there is still much work to be done to ensure that the basic rights we enjoy here in America are upheld and respected in Vietnam. Our commitment cannot waiver until the ongoing human rights violations in Vietnam and around the world end.

As a member of the Congressional Caucus on Vietnam, I am committed to making sure the United States does more to call for freedom, justice, and basic human rights in Vietnam. I cosponsored the Vietnam Human Rights Act to withhold any increases in United States non-humanitarian assistance to the government of Vietnam until it has made substantial progress toward respecting political, media, and religious freedoms; minority rights; access to U.S. refugee programs for Vietnamese nationals; and actions to end trafficking in persons; and the release of political prisoners.

When I visited Vietnam in 2015 as part of a Congressional delegation, I made clear to the Vietnamese government that they must respect and safeguard the basic human rights of all Vietnamese.  If Vietnam wishes to build stronger economic and diplomatic ties with the United States, it cannot continue to suppress freedom of religion and the press, ban independent labor unions, and jail prisoners of conscience.

Until the Vietnamese government has regained trust from its people and the rest of the world, I will remain vigilant in shining a light on its repeated human rights violations.

For more information concerning my work and views on human rights and civil rights, please contact me.

 
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