Coons, Tillis, McGovern, Smith call for release of arbitrarily detained Americans amid COVID-19 pandemic
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), co-chairs of the Senate Human Rights Caucus, and Representatives James McGovern (D-MA) and Christopher Smith (R-NJ), co-chairs of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, issued the following statement:
“As co-chairs of the Senate Human Rights Caucus and the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, we call on foreign governments to release arbitrarily detained Americans and all prisoners of conscience on humanitarian grounds immediately. These artists, activists, journalists, and more are held unjustly as a result of their peaceful expression of their beliefs or identity, and many, due to age or poor health, are especially vulnerable to COVID-19 as it spreads through detention facilities. It is incumbent upon all governments to make every effort to protect all individuals under their custody, including prisoners of conscience, from the deadly COVID-19 pandemic.
“As partners in the Defending Freedoms Project, which campaigns to free prisoners of conscience around the world, the Caucus and the Commission also urge members of Congress to continue advocating for the release of prisoners of conscience and to do everything within our power to ensure their health and safety.”