Dissidents from Cuba, Iran, Venezuela, Nicaragua to Spotlight Abuses at 16th Geneva Summit

GENEVA, April 2, 2024 — Leading dissidents and courageous activists worldwide will gather in Geneva, Switzerland on May 15, 2024, for the 16th Annual Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy at the Centre International de Conférences Genève.

The Summit, hosted by a coalition of 25 human rights organizations, will showcase the voices of the world’s bravest human rights defenders, many of whom have suffered torture, and give a vital platform to family members of political prisoners who are struggling to free their loved ones.

Featured speakers include:

  • Carolina Barrero, Cuban art historian, writer, and pro-democracy activist who faced repression from the Cuban regime before fleeing to Spain, where Barrero continues her advocacy work.
  •  Lesther Alemán, Nicaraguan student leader and activist who faced persecution after confronting Ortega in person. Alemán was held as a political prisoner before being exiled from Nicaragua in 2023.
  • Lisa Yasko, Member of the Ukrainian Parliament at the forefront of Ukraine’s public diplomacy efforts following Russia’s invasion. Founder of the Yellow Blue Strategy initiative.
  • Victor Navarro, Venezuelan journalist and rights advocate who endured arbitrary detention and torture for criticizing the Maduro regime. Now in exile in Argentina, Navarro developed a VR experience that shows what conditions are like for political prisoners in Venezuela’s infamous El Helicoide.
  • Dr. Kylie Moore-Gilbert, Australian-British academic freed after two years in Iranian prison as a victim of hostage diplomacy. She endured solitary confinement and psychological torture at the hands of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.

 

Speakers are available for interviews before the event and more speakers are set to be announced soon. For a full list of speakers please see our media kit. For media inquiries or interview requests, please contact media@genevasummit.org.

The annual Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy assembles hundreds of brave dissidents, human rights activists, diplomats, journalists, and student leaders, shedding light on pressing global human rights issues. It offers a platform for activists, former prisoners, and heroes to share their struggles for democracy. The Summit draws hundreds of attendees and garners extensive media coverage worldwide from major media outlets including CNN, BBC, Al Jazeera, Le Monde, and TIME magazine.

Admission to this year’s Geneva Summit is free and open to the public, but registration is mandatory.

Related

Yazidi Genocide

Geneva Summit 2016 Women’s Rights Award with Vian Dakhil

Vian Dakhil, an Iraqi parliamentarian and one of only two Yazidi MPs, receives a standing ovation as she accepts the prestigious Geneva Summit International Women’s Rights Award at the 8th Annual Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy – see quotes below, followed by full prepared remarks. On the horrors visited

Press Freedom

Covering An Uprising with Moayad Iskafe

  Moayad Iskafe, a Syrian journalist who played a central role at the start of the Syrian uprising by organizing a network of local journalists to break Assad’s media siege, addresses the 6th Annual Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy – see below for full prepared remarks.   Full Remarks  

Uyghur Persecution

Disappeared by China with Rayhan Asat

Rayhan Asat, Uighur activist and attorney and sister of Ekpar Asat who was abducted by Chinese authorities, addresses the 13th Annual Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy – see quotes below, followed by full prepared remarks. On the disappearance of her brother Epkar: “Unfortunately, [my brother] was born into

Human Rights

Beyond Geneva: Advancing Human Rights in 2016 with Alfred Moses

Ambassador Alfred H. Moses, Chair of UN Watch, former U.S. Ambassador to Romania, Special Presidential Envoy for the Cyprus Conflict, and Special Counsel to President Jimmy Carter, addresses the 8th Annual Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy – see quotes below, followed by full prepared remarks. On the Geneva Summit:

Human Rights

Arrested for Holding a Blank Paper with Rei Xia

Chinese dissenter, human rights activist, and former political prisoner Rei Xia addresses the 16th Annual Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy – see below for her remarks. Full Remarks: Thank you all.  Ladies and gentlemen, imagine one day you wake up and realize that you’ve turned into a caterpillar,

Presentation of the 2024 Courage Award with Brandon Silver

Brandon Silver, Director of Policy and Projects at the Raoul Wallenberg Center for Human Rights, delivers his remarks as he presents the 2024 Geneva Summit Courage Award to Aliasghar Ramezanpour and Pouria Zeraati on behalf of Iran International.

Authoritarianism

North Korea: Escape from Starvation and Oppression with Songmi Han

North Korean escapee and survivor of extreme poverty, oppression, and abandonment, Songmi Han, addresses the 15th Annual Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy – see below for her remarks. Full Remarks My mom gave me two lives. First, when she gave birth to me in 1993. Second, when she rescued me from North

Democracy

Geneva Summit 2017 Courage Award with Mohamed Nasheed

Mohamed Nasheed, former President of the Maldives and Geneva Summit Courage Award winner, addresses the 9th Annual Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy – see quotes below, followed by full prepared remarks. On his abuse by authorities in the Maldives:  “I’ve spent the good half of my adult life in

Human Rights

Do Human Rights Matter? with Alfred Moses

Alfred Moses, UN Watch Chair and a former special advisor to President Carter, addresses the 9th Annual Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy – see quotes below, followed by full prepared remarks. On the legacy of the fall of the Berlin Wall: “After the Berlin Wall came down, and

Yazidi Genocide

Presentation of Geneva Summit 2017 Women’s Rights Award with Shirin

Shirin, a former Yazidi ISIS captive, addresses the 9th Annual Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy – see quotes below, followed by full prepared remarks. On her capture by ISIS: “First, the men and women were separated. The men had to stay in Hardan, including my brother…We suspect they were

Authoritarianism and Dissent: 21st Century Horizons with Dewa Mavhinga

Dewa Mavhinga, former Southern Africa Director of  Human Rights Watch and former Regional Coordinator for the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, addresses the 2nd Annual Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy – see below for full prepared remarks.   Full remarks   Dewa Mavingha: Thank you and thank you to UN Watch and

Authoritarianism and Dissent: 21st Century Horizons with Ko Bo Kyi

Ko Bo Kyi, former Burmese student activist, political prisoner, and founder of the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, addresses the 2nd Annual Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy – see below for full prepared remarks.   Full remarks   Ko Bo Kyi: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you very much for

Women’s Rights, Human Dignity and Equality with Mukhtar Mai

Mukhtar Mai, Pakistani author, women’s rights activist, and victim of “honor revenge,” addresses the 5th Annual Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy – see below for full prepared remarks.   Full remarks   Mukhtar Mai: I am thankful for the Geneva Summit and its organizers, and I am thankful to all the

Democracy

Opening Address with James Kirchick

James Kirchik, journalist, author, and visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution, addresses the 11th Annual Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy – see quotes below, followed by full prepared remarks. On the universality of human rights: “Don’t let anyone tell you that certain cultures are immune to democracy or individual

Women's Rights

Escaping the Taliban with Nila Ibrahimi

15-year-old Hazara activist who narrowly escaped the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, Nila Ibrahimi, addresses the 15th Annual Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy – see below for her remarks. Full Remarks   Good morning everyone. I’m incredibly honored to be here today with you at the Geneva Summit. Thank you so much for giving me the

Presentation of the 2023 Courage Award with Javier El-Hage

Chief Legal and Policy Officer at Human Rights Foundation, Javier El-Hage presents the 2023 Courage Award at the 15th Annual Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy – see below for his remarks. Full Remarks It’s my distinct honor today, on behalf of the 25 co-sponsor organizations of the Geneva Summit

The Silencing of Critical Voices in Kazakhistan with Lukpan Akhmedyarov

Lukpan Akhmedyarov, one of Kazakhstan’s most prominent independent journalists, former editor-in-chief, and reporter at Uralskaya Nedelya,  addresses the 5th Annual Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy – see below for full prepared remarks.   Full remarks   Lukpan Akhmedyarov: Good afternoon. I am very sorry, I don’t speak English. I don’t

Human Rights

Resisting Authoritarianism with Damaris Moya Portieles

Cuban democracy leader and rights activist Damaris Moya Portieles addresses the 6th Annual Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy – see below for full prepared remarks.   Full Remarks   Danaris Moya Portieles: First of all, I would like to thank UN Watch and the organisers and the sponsors of this Geneva

Women's Rights

Let Iranian Women Enter Their Stadiums with Darya Safai

Darya Safai, Iranian women’s rights campaigner and founder of Let Iranian Women Enter Their Stadiums, addresses the 8th Annual Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy – see quotes below, followed by full prepared remarks. On growing up in Iran: “I grew up in the religious dictatorship of the Islamic Republic

Terrorism

Held Captive By Terrorists with Pierre Torres, Tom Gross

French blogger who was captured by ISIS and released after repeated beatings, torture, and psychological abuse, Pierre Torres, and journalist specializing in the Middle East and human rights, Tom Gross, at the 7th Annual Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy – see below for full prepared remarks. Full Transcript Moderator: Pierre Torres

Women's Rights

2021 International Women’s Rights Award with Gulalai Ismail

Gulalai Ismail, prominent Pakistani women’s rights activist and former political prisoner who escaped the country receives the 2021 International Women’s Rights Award and addresses the 13th Annual Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy – see quotes below, followed by full prepared remarks. On growing up in Pakistan: “I grew

Tortured by the Libyan Regime with Ashraf El Hajouj

Ashraf El Hajouj, a Palestinian-Bulgarian medic who was the principal defendant in Libya’s so-called “HIV Trial,” addresses the 1st Annual Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy – see below for full prepared remarks.   Full remarks        

Yazidi Genocide

Geneva Summit 2016 Women’s Rights Award with Jan Ilhan Kizilhan

Professor Dr. Dr. Jan Ilhan Kizilhan, German psychologist who has helped to repair the shattered and broken lives of countless Yezidi women who have suffered at the hands of ISIS, addresses the 8th Annual Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy – see quotes below, followed by full prepared remarks. On

Introduction for Professor Irwin Cotler with Brandon Silver

Brandon Silver, Director of Policy and Projects at the Raoul Wallenberg Center for Human Rights, addresses the 11th Annual Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy – see quotes below, followed by full prepared remarks. Introducing Professor Irwin Cotler: “Professor Cotler has not only served as an academic and theoretician on