Foreign Policy and Human Rights

Foreign Affairs and National Defense

The American people have called for an end to our open-ended commitment in the Middle East. We should all be proud of our troops and their admirable service overseas. It is time to bring them home in a responsible manner.

Economic development, regional diplomacy, and effective political and legal institutions are the keys to success in the region. But these efforts cannot succeed amidst pervasive violence and insecurity.


Zoe has led bipartisan efforts to urge Presidents of both political parties to consult and receive authorization from Congress prior to ordering the use of U.S. military force in Syria, citing the President’s responsibility to do so prescribed in the Constitution and the War Powers Resolution of 1973.

She believes the nation's Founders wisely gave the Office of the President the authority to act in emergencies, but foresaw the need to ensure public debate — and the active engagement of Congress — prior to committing U.S. military assets.  Engaging our military in Syria when no direct threat to the United States exists and without prior congressional authorization would violate the separation of powers that is clearly delineated in the Constitution.

Human Rights in Vietnam

Zoe is proud to have co-founded the Congressional Caucus on Vietnam with Former Representatives Loretta Sanchez (D-CA) and Tom Davis (R-VA) and serves as a current co-Chair. The actions of all nations must be measured against the standards of international behavior to which they have agreed. Having laws alone does not guarantee that they will be enforced or respected. This is clear in the case of Vietnam.

As a signatory to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Vietnam is obliged to recognize freedom of expression. Article 69 of its own Constitution states: "the citizen shall enjoy freedom of opinion and speech, freedom of the press, the right to be informed, and the right to assemble..." Nonetheless, the government of Vietnam repeatedly and consciously violates its international obligations with its relentless persecution of those expressing their right to freedom of expression.

As a Member of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission and a co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on Vietnam, Zoe will continue to bring attention to political persecution in Vietnam and put pressure on the Vietnamese government to improve their human rights records.

More on Foreign Policy and Human Rights

August 27, 2013 Press Release

Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-San Jose) released the following statement today regarding reports that President Obama may be considering a military response after allegations that the Syrian government used chemical weapons on its citizens:

July 23, 2013 Press Release

Following a meeting today at the White House, Reps. Zoe Lofgren (D- CA), Susan Davis (D-CA), Alan Lowenthal (D-CA), and Scott Peters (D-CA) said they had received a commitment from President Obama to address human rights concerns with Vietnam President Truong Tan Sang during an upcoming meeting of the two leaders. The lawmakers welcomed the President's assurances, and said he told them that the human rights issues they raised were a priority for his upcoming meeting with Sang.

April 30, 2013 Press Release

Today Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-San Jose), released the following statement commemorating Black April Day, traditionally observed by the Vietnamese American community on April 30th, referring to the Fall of Saigon on April 30, 1975, as the day the South Vietnamese government fell to the North Vietnamese communist regime:

April 26, 2013 Press Release

Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-San Jose) has introduced the Fostering Rights through Economic Engagement in Vietnam ("FREE Vietnam") Act, a bipartisan bill cosponsored by five Members of Congress that would bar Vietnam from enjoying special U.S. trade preferences until the country's communist government takes serious measures to curb human rights abuses.

March 21, 2013 Press Release

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) introduced companion legislation in the Senate and House of Representatives Thursday that would improve the Nation's immigration laws to ensure the longstanding American tradition of protecting refugees and asylum seekers fleeing persecution in their home countries.