Dharamshala: US Congressman Frank Wolf, co-chair of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission and a long-time advocate of human rights around the world, delivered a major speech in the House of Representatives on Friday (23 July) urging the Obama Administration to “find its voice” on human rights.
In his statement, Mr Wolf informed the House about the current inadequate staffing levels at the office of the Special Coordinator for Tibetans. Approved as a part of its Tibet policy act of 2002, Congress had approved that the office ‘consist three professional full-time staff members and additional support staff, as needed, in addition to the special coordinator, he said.
Mr Wolf also brought to the notice of the House about the delay in submission of the “congressionally mandated Report on Tibet Negotiations” to Congress as on 31 March every year.
He called on the Obama administration to place more priority on the issue of Tibet.
Mr Wolf presented a comprehensive assessment of the US government’s role in promoting and protecting the basic human rights and religious freedom in countries such as Sudan, China, Vietnam, North Korea, Iraq, Egypt and Morocco. He specifically highlighted the struggles of different faith communities, including Uighur Muslims, Tibetan Buddhists, Ahmadi Muslims, Coptic Christians and Baha’is.
He called on Congress to “stand in the gap” when the administration fails to advocate for those around the world whose voices have been silenced.
Wolf acknowledged that there are multiple dimensions to America’s bilateral relations with countries around the globe, but said if the United States of America cannot be relied upon to speak out on behalf of the vulnerable and oppressed, then it is indeed a dark day for millions around the world yearning to breathe the sweet air of freedom.
“America must stand up for the ideals upon which our own experiment in self-governance was founded. America must strike out against injustice, whatever form it takes. America must believe that even the mightiest walls of oppression can tumble and work toward that end,” he added.