Speech by Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez, US House of Representatives at the Iranian Gathering in Paris 2014

7/1/2014 3:04:45 PM

Loretta Sanchez

Loretta Sanchez

Mrs. Sanchez said: Hello freedom fighters. Hello to my lawyers and doctors, entrepreneurs, our teachers, our mothers who instill the values to the children of the future, ordinary people doing extraordinary things, to the people in the streets of Tehran, to all of you, you are the true freedom fighters.
Many of you know that I fight for human rights around the world. There are plenty of countries where I am not invited, but I wear that as a badge of honor because of the work that we do together. But today, I am here for the 116 residents who were killed and the more than 1,000 residents who were wounded in 7 different attacks since 2009. I am here today for the 175 refugees – including 97 women – who were injured in January of this year when Iranian and supporting Iraqi forces hurled stones and bottles and metal into Camp Ashraf. These refugees have been declared protected persons under the 4th Geneva Convention in 2003 by the US and they must be protected.
To those refugees who are moved to Camp Liberty, to the more than 2,900 Iranian dissidents in Camp Liberty who remain in danger, as a member of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, I have concerns about the way they are treating our refugees there and we need to get them to stop that.
I am a co-sponsor of House bill 3707 as my colleagues are, ensuring the emergency protection of Iranian dissidents living in Camp Liberty and to provide for their admission as refugees to the United States of America.
Almost 400 of those residents have already gone to Europe and I thank my European counterparts and its time that the US does that starting today.
When I first started 18 years in the US Congress I went to Vietnam, to a brutal communist regime there. I met with their highest religious leader who had served 23 years in prison and continued to be under house arrest, the venerable Tick Van Doe, and he said to me you must continue to be the voice on the outside pushing in. He said change must come from within but when the voices are heard it gives courage for those brave people inside who must bring freedom to their countrymen. Continue to be the voice for those people in the streets in Tehran.