China, Syria, Turkey, Cuba, Pakistan Scrutinized at Virtual Geneva Rights Summit

Rayhan Asat, a Uyghur activist who was one of the speakers today at the virtual 2021 Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy, testified about her brother Ekpar Asat who was abducted by Chinese authorities.

GENEVA, June 7, 2021 — China, Syria, Turkey, Cuba, and Pakistan were among  governments that came under scrutiny today at an annual assembly of dissidents and former political prisoners who have been oppressed by some of the world’s worst abusers.

The 13th annual Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy, organized by a cross-regional coalition of 25 human rights groups, and being held virtually for the first time, takes place ahead of the June session of the UN Human Rights Council, in a bid to place urgent situations on the world agenda.

Waad Al-Kateab, a Syrian refugee and award-winning documentary filmmaker, spotlighted the Assad regime’s abuses.

Uyghur rights activist Rayhan Asat and exiled Hong Kong dissident Nathan Law called out China’s assault on Uyghurs in Xinjiang and democracy in Hong Kong.

Pakistani rights activist Gulalai Ismail, who fled the country after authorities falsely accused her of sedition for her advocacy, received the Geneva Summit’s 2021 International Women’s Rights Award.

Cuban political performance artist Tania Bruguera was supposed to speak at today’s event, but the conference announced that she was unable to join because government forces shut down her internet. Since November 2020, Bruguera has been repeatedly detained, interrogated and put under house arrest for her artwork and activism critical of the regime.

China, Cuba and Pakistan are members of the UNHRC, and their abuses typically go ignored there. The Geneva Summit hopes that today’s powerful testimonies will mobilize pressure upon the council to address the plight of the victims.

Program | Facebook photo album | Transcripts | Videos 

Day 1: Testimonies from 13th Geneva Summit


Hong Kong

Abducted by China with Lam Wing-kee

Bookseller Lam Wing-kee, abducted by Chinese authorities for selling politically sensitive books in Hong Kong, addresses the 10th Annual Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy – see quotes below, followed by full prepared remarks. On Chinese persecution of Hong Kong booksellers: “From October to December 2015, shareholders and staff members


Authoritarianism: The Police State and Its Victims with Regis Iglesias Ramirez, Rosa Maria Paya, Philippe Robinet, Randa Kassis, Dicki Chhoyang

A panel including Minister for Development and International Relations for the Central Tibetan Administration, Dicki Chhoyang; Franco-Syrian politician, journalist, anthropologist, and leading figure in the opposition to Bashar Al Assad’s Syrian regime, Randa Kassis;  Cuban pro-democracy activist and member of the Coordination Team of the Christian Liberation Movement (MCL), Rosa

Political Prisoners

Imprisoned by China with Yang Jianli

Yang Jianli, leading Chinese dissident and pro-democracy activist, addresses the 11th Annual Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy – see quotes below, followed by full prepared remarks. On being at Tiananmen Square in 1989: “A friend and I arrived in the square late on the night of June 3 just

Political Prisoners

Fighting for my Dad with Peter Yang

Peter Yang, son of Guo Feixiong, imprisoned Chinese “barefoot lawyer” and civil rights activist, addresses the 15th Annual Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy – see below for his remarks. Full Remarks I am here today, speaking for my father, Yang Maodong, who is more known for his pen name, Guo