As Co-Chairs of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, Rep. Randy Hultgren (R-IL) and Rep. James P. McGovern (D-MA) play a leading role in advancing international human rights in Congress. The two Members of Congress drew on their experiences promoting human rights in authoritarian and violent, conflict-affected countries at USIP’s Inaugural Bipartisan Congressional Dialogue on March 20, 2018. At this event, they discussed their shared approach to addressing the ethnic cleansing of Rohingya in Burma, the destructive Syrian armed conflict, and the plight of ethnic and religious minorities throughout the Middle East and in Asia. Rep. Hultgren and Rep. McGovern spoke about their joint efforts to incorporate human rights into U.S. policies with the aim of fostering international stability and peace.

Established as a bipartisan commission in 2008 by unanimous consent of the U.S. House of Representatives, the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission leads congressional initiatives to promote, defend and advocate for international human rights as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other human rights instruments. As Co-Chairs, Rep. Hultgren and Rep. McGovern have led dozens of hearings and briefings during the 115th Congress on human rights issues around the world in countries and regions vital to U.S. foreign policy and national security interests.

Review the conversation on Twitter with the hashtag #BipartisanUSIP.

Panelists

Rep. Randy Hultgren (R-IL)
14th Congressional District of Illinois, U.S. House of Representatives

Rep. James P. McGovern (D-MA)
2nd Congressional District of Massachusetts, U.S. House of Representatives

Nancy Lindborg, Moderator
President, U.S. Institute of Peace

Related Publications

Why Burma’s Peace Efforts Have Failed to End Its Internal Wars

Why Burma’s Peace Efforts Have Failed to End Its Internal Wars

Friday, October 2, 2020

By: Bertil Lintner

After seven decades of civil war and five failed peace efforts, Burma is no closer than before to reaching an agreement that would bring an end to its many conflicts. Analysis of those previous attempts shows that they all foundered on immutable attitudes on both sides. This report suggests that the peace process needs a fresh start, learning from the past and seeking to resolve underlying political disparities while prioritizing community interests and sustainable development.

Type: Peaceworks

Peace Processes

Nonviolent Action in Myanmar: Challenges and Lessons for Civil Society and Donors

Nonviolent Action in Myanmar: Challenges and Lessons for Civil Society and Donors

Friday, September 18, 2020

By: La Ring; Khin Sandar Nyunt; Nist Pianchupat; Shaazka Beyerle

The National League for Democracy’s decisive victory in Myanmar’s 2015 elections inspired hopes of a full transition from military rule and an opening of civil space. Neither has materialized, and the groups working to advance social, political, and economic change in Myanmar continue to face significant challenges. Focusing on three cases of organized nonviolent action in Kachin, Mandalay, and Yangon, this report explores the divide that has opened between civil society and the NLD government and the rifts emerging within civil society itself.

Type: Special Report

Nonviolent Action

The Dangers of Myanmar’s Ungoverned Casino Cities

The Dangers of Myanmar’s Ungoverned Casino Cities

Thursday, August 6, 2020

By: Jason Tower; Priscilla A. Clapp

As a struggling, incomplete democracy, Myanmar and its elected leaders face challenges that would confound any country. The best-known involve the military’s uneven loosening of a 50-year dictatorship; ethnic tensions and armed conflicts; the lack of a common national identity; entrenched poverty; and the complications of borders with five nations, including China. Less well known is an emerging threat that touches each of these vital concerns. Over the past three years, transnational networks with links to organized crime have partnered with local armed groups, carving out autonomous enclaves and building so-called “smart cities” to tap into the huge, but illegal, Chinese online gambling market. Myanmar’s leaders at every level and in every sector should pay serious attention to the alarming national implications of these developments.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Economics & Environment; Democracy & Governance

Myanmar: Casino Cities Run on Blockchain Threaten Nation’s Sovereignty

Myanmar: Casino Cities Run on Blockchain Threaten Nation’s Sovereignty

Thursday, July 30, 2020

By: Jason Tower; Priscilla A. Clapp

On January 20, a young venture capitalist named Douglas Gan sat down in a Philippine television studio to discuss, in part, an exciting new “Smart City” project his firm had become involved in. Sporting a black hoodie over a white tee-shirt, Gan described how one of his companies, Building Cities Beyond Blockchain, was already at work in Myanmar’s Yatai New City, recording instantaneous property transfers and showing the potential of blockchain technology. It’s a start, the anchor said. Gan agreed.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Economics & Environment

View All Publications