Dissidents Gather at Geneva Rights Summit

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GENEVA, March 15 – In parallel with the current session of the UN Human Rights Council, courageous champions of human rights joined together today in Geneva, Switzerland, to urge action against oppressive governments, support democracy dissidents, and propose country resolutions for the UN council to adopt.

Renowned dissidents, rights activists and parliamentarians who addressed the third annual Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy include:

  • Mohamad Mostafaei, recently-escaped Iranian lawyer who defended Sakineh, the Iranian woman sentenced to death by stoning on charges of adultery
  • Yang Jianli, former political prisoner, survivor of Tiananmen Square and representative of jailed writer Liu Xiaobo at recent Nobel Prize ceremony
  • Mahmoud Salem, alias the “SandMonkey,” Egyptian cyber-dissident and leading voice for the Tahrir Square freedom revolution
  • Mohamed Eljahmi, Libyan rights activist, brother of slain dissident Fathi Eljahmi
  • Jacqueline Kasha, founder of Freedom and Roam Uganda, an LGBT organization in Kampala, colleague of slain gay rights activist David Kato
  • Grace Kwinjeh, Zimbabwean female human rights defender and journalist
  • The Hon. Miguel Angel Rodriguez, Venezuelan opposition MP, journalist, host of morning program on politics “that infuriates the Chávez government” (Washington Post)
  • Dalia Ziada, Egyptian blogger and human rights activist, Director of the Egypt Office of the American Islamic Congress
  • Lina Ben Mhenni, Tunisian Blogger, founder of “A Tunisian Girl,” a blog banned by the Ben Ali regime
  • John Dau, activist and refugee from South Sudan
  • Gwang-il Jung, survivor of North Korean prison camps
  • Nguyen Thanh Van, Vietnamese Blogger
  • The Hon. Karin S. Woldseth, Norwegian MP
  • Bernard Schalscha, Director of Collectif Urgence Darfour
  • Juan Branco, President of Jeune République, French pro-democracy institute
  • Farid Tukhbatullin, Turkmen Human rights activist, former prisoner threatened with death by his government
  • Luis Enrique Ferrer Garcia, Cuban dissident who received a 28-year sentence for his work with the Varela project, a civic initiative calling for democratic reforms in Cuba
  • Dechem Pemba, UK-born Tibetan, editor of the website High Peaks Pure Earth, on which Tibetan blogs written in Tibetan and Chinese are translated into English
  • Bahtiyar Ömer, Uyghur human rights activist whose wife Gulmire Imin, received life in prison for being “illegal organizer” of 2009 demonstrations
  • Ti-Anna Wang, daughter of Bingzhang Wang, renowned Chinese democracy activist serving life prison sentence in solitary confinement

In ther presentation, conference participants turned an international spotlight on victims who need protection, advance the struggle of dissidents against state repression, and champion internet freedom for rights activists.

Tomorrow, the cross-regional group of dissidents will receive expert training on how to use social media to promote freedom. They will also meet with senior diplomats and UN human rights officials.

The third annual Geneva Summit is organized by a global civil society coalition of 20 human rights groups, including UN Watch, Freedom House, Ibuka and Tibetan, Vietnamese and Zimbabwean organizations, with support from the Canton of Geneva. (Click here for full list of sponsors.)

For more information, visit http://www.genevasummit.org/.  

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