Retirement of Freedom's Champion Will Leave Void in Congress | Freedom House

Retirement of Freedom's Champion Will Leave Void in Congress

Washington, D.C.

Today’s announcement by Congressman Tom Lantos (D-CA) that he will not run for re-election this year provides an opportunity to reflect upon his unswerving dedication to the cause of freedom, Freedom House said today.

“The human rights community owes a tremendous debt to Congressman Lantos for his years of dedicated service to the protection of human dignity,” said Freedom House’s executive director, Jennifer Windsor. 

Representative Lantos is serving his 14th term in the U.S. House of Representatives and is currently Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee.  He announced today that he will not run for re-election due to his fight against cancer.  Lantos, 79, is the only member of Congress to have survived the Holocaust and has long been a staunch supporter of human rights.  He co-founded the important Congressional Human Rights Caucus in 1983, has supported assistance to the formerly communist countries of Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, and has been an outspoken critic of human rights abuses in countries such as China, even when his voice was in a solid minority.

“While many new arrivals to the United States have benefitted from the freedoms this country provides immigrants, few have used public service as effectively as Congressman Lantos to better the lives of those in the U.S. and around the world,” continued Ms. Windsor. “A new generation of human rights advocates in the U.S. Congress will be required to fill the tremendous gap that Congressman Lantos’ departure will leave.”

Freedom House, an independent nongovernmental organization that supports the expansion of freedom around the world, has monitored political rights and civil liberties around the world since 1972. 

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