Rep. Jim McGovern is a longtime advocate for making human rights, rule of law, and good governance the center of U.S. policy towards Latin America and the Caribbean.
McGovern’s career in public service has had a strong focus on defending peace and supporting the rights of victims of human rights abuses to truth and justice. In the 1980s, as a congressional staff member, he helped lead investigations into the murder of six Jesuit priests, a domestic worker, and her daughter by the U.S.-backed Salvadoran military during El Salvador’s civil war. The investigation led to a turning point in the conflict, providing impetus for peace talks. More recently, he is one of the most forceful defenders in the U.S. Congress of Colombia’s historic 2016 peace deal, urging the Colombian government to invest the resources and political support necessary to fulfill the promise of the accords.
McGovern has an extraordinary track record in seeking accountability for corruption and human rights abuses in the Americas. In addition to supporting the creation of a national commission dedicated to searching for El Salvador’s disappeared, he authored the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act, which allows the U.S. government to sanction foreign officials engaged in corruption or human rights abuses.
He is chair of the powerful House Rules Committee and co-chair of the bipartisan Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission. He is the 2007 recipient of the WOLA Human Rights Award.