Protecting Vulnerable Populations Abroad
"Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said that "the arc of history is long, but it bends toward justice." Of course, that arc does not bend by itself. Committed individuals must be willing to raise their voices and take action to make the world a more just place." - Senator Tom Harkin
Senator Harkin's commitment to human rights came into focus in 1970, when he went to Vietnam as a young Congressional staffer on a "fact finding" mission. Unfortunately, when Harkin stumbled on some horrifying cases of abuse, many delegation members did not want to face the facts. Harkin went to Con Son Island, where the South Vietnamese government was keeping hundreds of political prisoners in "tiger cages" in the ground, shackled and living in unspeakable squalor. When he returned to the States, despite the objections of his superiors, Harkin spoke out. His photographs of the tiger cages were published in Life magazine, and for his courage, he was fired.
Harkin's commitment to protecting vulnerable populations has not wavered since that time. He believes that in order for the global economy to prosper, it is critical to protect the jobs and livelihoods of the most vulnerable populations here and abroad. Senator Harkin has advanced these causes in the following ways.