Leading democracy and human rights activists feature in a global webcast this weekend to provide worldwide participation in the Geneva Summit for Democracy, Tolerance and Human Rights. The summit, held on the eve of the discredited U.N. Racism Conference, will include contributions on “Resisting Authoritarianism: Human Rights, Democracy and the Dissident Movement” from Egyptian dissident Saad Eddin Ibrahim; Bo Kyi Burmese winner of the Human Rights Prize from Human Rights Watch; José Gabriel Ramón Castillo, a former prisoner of conscience in Cuba; Iranian dissident Ahmad Batebi; Marlon Zakeyo of the Zimbabwe Advocacy Office, and Gonzalo Himiob Santome, a Venezuelan human rights expert.
The Geneva Summit organizers report:
The day after the Geneva Summit, Iran’s President Ahmadinejad will appear at the UN conference, which has been dubbed “Durban II.” Last week, his envoy in Geneva — apparently concerned about potential scrutiny of Iran’s treatment of women, ethnic and religious minorities, and gays — protested in a UN session that the Geneva Summit will be taking place in the best venue in the city — the international convention center directly facing the UN.
“We are thrilled that victims, activists and journalists around the world will be able to watch and participate in Sunday’s historic human rights gathering,” said Eleiza Braun, spokesperson for the Geneva Summit for Human Rights, Tolerance and Democracy. “The summit will hear from some of the leading figures in the struggle against genocide, discrimination and state repression of civil, political and religious freedom. They will be telling their stories and giving voice to the millions who are still in countries where they cannot speak out from fear of torture and persecution.”
SOS Racisme, Freedom House, Ibuka, UN Watch and 30 other human rights and anti-racism NGOs from around the world are joining hands to bring leading human rights figures from Burma, Iran, Egypt, Cuba, Darfur, Venezuela, and many other countries known for severe violations, including discrimination on the basis of religion, belief, gender and sexual orientation. Hundreds of human rights NGO activists are expected to attend in person in Geneva.
Viewers worldwide can watch the live webcast on Sunday at www.genevasummit.org – and pose questions to the panel via e-mail throughout the day. Prior registration is not required.
The summit organizing coalition comprises the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (Burma); AVEGA – Association of Widows of Genocide (Rwanda); Center for the Opening and Development of Latin America; The Cuban Democratic Directorate (Directorio); Darfur Peace and Development Center; Fondation Généreuse Développement (FGD); Freedom House; Freedom Now; GAERG (Groupe des Anciens Etudiants Réscapés du Genocide); Global Zimbabwe Forum; Human Rights Without Frontiers; Ibuka (Remember – Rwandese survivors’ association); IFLRY – International Federation of Liberal Youth; IGLYO - the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer Youth and Student Organization; Ingenieurs du Monde; Ligue Internationale Contre le Racisme et l’Antisémitisme; SOS Racisme; Stop Child Executions; Becket Fund for Religious Liberty; East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project; UN Watch. Additional Supporters: Urgence Darfour; Genocide Watch; the International Campaign to End Genocide; the International Association of Genocide Scholars.