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“All human beings are born free and equal

in dignity and rights.”

- Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Human Rights: Taking Stock and Looking Forward

Thursday, December 8, 2016 - 3:30pm
HVC-200 U.S. Capitol Visitor Center


On the eve of Human Rights Day, please join the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission for a briefing and discussion on the state of human rights around the world.

In 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Two years later, the Assembly passed resolution 423 (V), inviting all States and interested organizations to observe December 10th of each year as Human Rights Day.

Today, as Human Rights Day approaches, the world is witnessing brutal armed conflicts, the largest number of refugees and displaced people since World War II, and the return and consolidation of authoritarian forms of governance in many countries. Although more and more people are aware of their rights, and human rights standards have been developed and strengthened both within countries and internationally, the challenges to the full and free exercise of those rights are growing, and compliance with human rights law has eroded.

This briefing will focus on challenges in two areas: the closing space for civil society, political opposition and the press; and the prevention and response to crimes against humanity and war crimes. As we prepare for a new year and a new Congress, the panelists will offer ideas and recommendations for preserving and protecting the human rights and dignity of people around the world.

This briefing will be open to members of Congress, congressional staff, the interested public, and the media. For any questions, please contact Kimberly Stanton (for Mr. McGovern) at 202-225-3599 or or Carson Middleton (for Mr. Pitts) at

Hosted by:

James P. McGovern, M.C.
Co-Chair, TLHRC
Alan Lowenthal, M.C.
Member, TLHRC
Joseph R. Pitts, M.C.
Co-Chair, TLHRC


Opening Remarks

Panel I

  • Daniel Calingaert, Acting President, Freedom House
    Written statement
  • Brian Dooley, Director, Human Rights Defenders, Human Rights First
    Written statement
  • Margaux Ewen, Advocacy and Communications Officer, Reporters Without Borders USA

Panel II

  • Naomi Kikoler, Deputy Director, Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide, U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum
  • Sarah Margon, Washington Director, Human Rights Watch  
  • Adotei Akwei, Managing Director for Government Relations, Amnesty International
    Written statement


  • Stephen Rickard, Director of Washington Office, Open Society Foundations


114th Congress