"Defending Freedom" Week of Action Highlights Political Prisoners Around the Globe

Press Release
July 24, 2013

"Defending Freedom" Week of Action Highlights Political Prisoners Around the Globe

New congressional initiative welcomed by Amnesty International USA

Contact: Sharon Singh, ssingh@aiusa.org, 202-675-8579, @AIUSAmedia

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Amnesty International USA (AIUSA) welcomed the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission’s (TLHRC) Defending Freedom’s Week of Action, which began Tuesday.

The aim of Defending Freedom’s initiative is to increase attention and support for human rights and religious freedom through a focus on individuals around the world. Specifically, members of Congress are highlighting cases of political prisoners to show their solidarity.

U.S. representatives from around the country are speaking out to highlight and give voice to political prisoners who are being held or detained around the world for expressing their political views. Activities that members are undertaking this week include statements for the record, social media engagement and one-minute floor speeches, among other actions.

"By giving voice to someone who has been silenced, these members of Congress are illustrating the strength of speaking up for justice," said Adotei Akwei, AIUSA’s managing director for government relations. "Freedom of expression is not a luxury, but a basic human right."

Members participating this week include TLHRC co-chairs U.S. Representatives Frank Wolf and Jim McGovern, and Representatives Suzanne Bonamici, Donna Edwards, Keith Ellison, Trent Franks, Alan Grayson, Randy Hultgren, Hank Johnson, Lynn Jenkins, Alan Lowenthal, Jim Moran, Joe Pitts and Jan Schakowsky.

The TLHRC is a congressional, nonpartisan group which seeks to promote, defend and advocate for internationally recognized human rights norms as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other relevant human rights instruments.

Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 3 million supporters, activists, and volunteers in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth, and dignity are denied.