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Congressman Randy Hultgren

Representing the 14th District of ILLINOIS

Hultgren Appointed to Bipartisan Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission’s Executive Committee

Apr 20, 2015
Press Release
Chairs First Hearing on Human Rights Violations Committed by Islamic State

Washington, DC –U.S. Representative Randy Hultgren’s (IL-14) strong record on combating and raising awareness about the plague of human trafficking at home and abroad has helped elevate him to an appointment to the eight-member Executive Committee of the well-respected Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission (TLHRC), a bipartisan House commission with the mission to promote, defend and advocate internationally recognized human rights norms in a nonpartisan manner, both within and outside of Congress, as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other relevant human rights instruments. The 30-year-old organization was co-founded by late Honorable Tom Lantos (D-CA), a champion of human rights and the only Holocaust survivor to serve in Congress.

Rep. Joe Pitts (R-PA), Co-Chairman of the TLHRC, said: “I’ve worked closely for many years with Congressman Hultgren and I’m proud to see him join the leadership of the Human Rights Commission. He has a real heart for people suffering around the world. His work on international trafficking and sexual slavery shows real compassion for women and children and is major issue that we will be focusing our efforts on in the coming years. We’re glad to have him join the team."

Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA), Co-Chairman of the TLHRC, said: “As Democratic Co-Chair, I welcome Randy Hultgren’s appointment to the Executive Committee of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, and look forward to working with him during the 114th Congress.”

Congressman Randy Hultgren (R-IL) said: “I am humbled and honored to walk in the steps of such human rights champions as former Reps. Frank Wolf and Tom Lantos, current co-chairs Joe Pitts and Jim McGovern, fellow Executive Committee member Chris Smith, and many others. Joining the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission’s Executive Committee is thrilling, and I am excited to help amplify the important work before us. I plan to use my particular passions—protecting victims of human trafficking and punishing perpetrators, defending religious liberty around the world, and helping those facing extreme poverty and hunger—to aid the committee as it stands up for the rights of the oppressed and marginalized everywhere.”

Upon his appointment to the Executive Committee, Rep. Hultgren chaired a hearing at the request of Chairman Pitts entitled, “Human Rights Violations Committed by the Islamic State,” featuring the following witnesses:

  • David N. Saperstein, Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, U.S. Department of State
  • Sunjeev Bery, Advocacy Director, Middle East North Africa, Amnesty International USA
  • Erin Evers, Iraq Researcher, Middle East and North Africa Division, Human Rights Watch
  • Rami Abdelrahman, Director, The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights
  • Bassam Ishak, President, Syriac National Council of Syria

In February, Rep. Hultgren delivered a floor statement drawing attention to religious minorities in the Middle East murdered or abducted by the Islamic State for their belief, and the need to repel the group’s sustained attack on religious freedom.

Rep. Hultgren has raised awareness of victims of human rights violation who are persecuted for exercising their political, religious, and educational beliefs. Through the TLHRC, Rep. Hultgren has “adopted” Zhu Yufu, a Chinese prisoner of conscience, and testified on his behalf and in support of his release.

Rep. Hultgren has made defending victims of human trafficking a top priority while in office, from hosting key anti-trafficking experts for Capitol Hill briefings, to convening community leaders in Illinois to fight the growing problem, to introducing legislation pushing nations to clamp down on the demand for commercial sex within their borders, a major factor contributing to the prevalence of sex slavery.