Dissidents, Ex-Political Prisoners Organizing Geneva Summit to Urge Help from UN Rights Council

February 14, 2011

Dissidents to propose draft resolutions on Egypt, China, Iran, Zimbabwe & other hotspots; summit organized by global coalition of 20 NGOs

GENEVA – On March 15, 2011, to enhance the annual session of the UN Human Rights Council, renowned dissidents, rights activists and experts will come together in Geneva, Switzerland, to urge action against rights abusers, boost democracy dissidents worldwide, and submit draft resolutions for the council to adopt on urgent country situations and global thematic concerns.

The third annual Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy, to be held at the Geneva International Conference Center, is organized by a global civil society coalition of 20 human rights groups, including Iranian, Tibetan and Zimbabwean organizations (see list below), with support from the Canton of Geneva. Elie Wiesel, Nobel Peace Prize laureate, is chairman of the summit’s honorary committee.

The assembly will also feature a second day of training and diplomatic meetings for the activists and dissidents, offering them access to key UN decision-makers, as well as action-oriented presentations and skills-building workshops. The aim is to strengthen the dissidents in their struggle against state repression, including to protect internet freedom. Speakers will include former political prisoners from around the world, including Jacqueline Kasha, President and Co-Founder of Freedom and Roam Uganda, an LGBT rights organization based in Kampala; Luis Enrique Ferrer Garcia, who was jailed on a 28-year sentence for his work with the Varela project, a civic initiative calling for democratic reforms in Cuba; Guang-il Jung, a North Korean dissident, who was tortured and escaped from a labor camp; Farid Tukhbatullin, a human rights activist from Turkmenistan, who was jailed by his government, and then threatened with death after his release.

Last year’s summit was praised by the Wall Street Journal and reported worldwide by AP, Reuters, La Stampa, Spain’s EFE, Radio Free Europe, Geneva’s Le Temps and many other agencies. Speakers included Bob Boorstin, Google’s director of Corporate and Policy communication, Caspian Makan of Iran, the fiancé of slain Iranian icon Neda Agha Soltan, José Gabriel Ramón Castillo of Cuba and Bo Kyi of Burma, along with many other well-known rights activists and scholars. (See videos at www.genevasummit.org.)

Admission to the March 15 conference is free, and the public and media are invited to attend.

For accreditation, program and schedule information, please visit http://www.genevasummit.org.

Media Contact

To arrange interviews or for more information, contact: Arielle Herzog Hadida, Coordinator

Tel: +41.78.683.0268 (Geneva, Switzerland)
Email: secretariat@genevasummit.org

Global Civil Society Coalition
Collectif Urgence Darfour
Darfur Peace and Development Center
Directorio Democratico Cubano
Freedom House
Freedom Now
Human Rights Without Frontiers Int’l
IBUKA
Ingénieurs du monde
Initiatives for China
Inter-African Committee on Traditional Practices Affecting the Health of Women and Children International Federation of Liberal Youth (IFLRY)
Ligue International Contre le Racisme
LINK
Respect Institut
Stop Child Executions
Tibetan Women’s Association
Ticino Tibet
Uighur American Congress
UN Watch
Viet Tan

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