McGovern Honored for Record on Human Rights

12/5/2003

BOSTON -- U.S. Rep. James P. McGovern’s dedication to the cause of human rights has been recognized through the John Joseph Moakley Humanitarian Award, which he received during a symposium marking the 14th anniversary of the Jesuit murders in El Salvador.

McGovern (D-Worcester) was honored with the first of what will be an annual award given by The John Joseph Moakley Archive and Institute at Suffolk University.

"Joe Moakley was my boss, my mentor, my inspiration and my friend. And I miss him every day. To receive this award -- named in his memory -- is a great thrill,” said McGovern. "Suffolk is doing an extraordinary job of maintaining Joe's legacy -- a legacy that I know will inspire countless young people to dedicate their lives to public service."

McGovern was chosen because of his efforts on behalf of human rights in Latin America since the early 1980s. He worked closely with Salvadoran constituents on immigration issues as chief of staff to Congressman Moakley, then served as the late congressman’s point man in the investigation into military involvement in the 1989 Jesuit slayings in El Salvador.

As a congressman, McGovern persists in keeping a watchful eye on U.S. military policy. He has spoken out against the increasing involvement of the U.S. military in Colombia and is a strong advocate for shifting the U.S. focus to supporting human rights for Colombia’s people.

He also has stood against the federal government’s policy of banning travel to Cuba, saying that the policies of economic sanctions and isolation have been unsuccessful and may have a negative effect on human rights in the island nation.

“Jim McGovern is a steadfast and outspoken defender of human rights, and, what’s more, he’s been getting results for people for more than 20 years. We are proud to recognize his tremendous accomplishments as a champion of people everywhere,” said Suffolk University President David J. Sargent.

McGovern was a panelist and prime mover in organizing the Nov. 14 symposium, “El Congresista Moakley,” offered in conjunction with the exhibit El Congresista: Joe Moakley en El Salvador, which focuses on the civil war and its impact on the Salvadoran people through photos and documents drawn from the Moakley Archive. The exhibit at the Adams Gallery, Suffolk University Law School, 120 Tremont Street, Boston, runs through Feb. 29, 2004.
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The John Joseph Moakley Archive and Institute at Suffolk University was established by Suffolk University in 2001 upon Congressman Moakley's gift of his papers. It is dedicated to the preservation, study, interpretation and celebration of the late congressman's legacy of service and political and public policy leadership.

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