|Congresswoman Pelosi presents the Inaugural Lantos Human Rights Prize to the Dalai Lama.|
As Americans, we must protect human rights both at home and abroad—the right to live freely without the threat of violence or repression, the right to live with dignity and respect. Throughout our history, our international standing has rested in part on our democratic values and our commitment to human rights. Everywhere I travel, the call is clear: the world needs America to lead. We must work towards a sustainable foreign policy that reflects American values.
The world needs American leadership. In countries such as Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, violence and human rights violations continue without a resolution to the conflicts. In Burma, the people continue to fight for a democratic society under the leadership of Aung San Suu Kyi. And for many people in the developing world, extreme poverty and the spread of infectious diseases continue to fuel a ‘fury of despair’ that devastates families and creates instability.
In China and Tibet, people are languishing in prisons for only expressing their ideas and political views. Nobel Peace Prize recipient Liu Xiaobo, one of the authors of an online petition calling for human right and democracy, is still in prison while other Chinese citizens are censored, harassed, or imprisoned for simply expressing their right to speak freely. If we don’t stand up for human rights in China and Tibet than we lose our moral authority to speak out for human rights in the rest of the world.
We must show effective leadership in the world that reflects the ideals that we cherish—freedom, democracy, human rights and respect for people as individuals. In doing so, we can help make countries plagued by conflict and repression better places to live, and better partners in creating a safer world.
Learn more about my record on human rights>>