Summits

program

Human Rights

Welcome with Hillel Neuer

International lawyer, diplomat and Executive Director of UN Watch, Hillel Neuer delivers opening remarks at the 15th Annual Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy – see below for his remarks. Full Remarks Excellencies, courageous defenders of human rights gathered from around the globe, ladies and gentlemen, friends. Welcome to the 2023 Geneva Summit

Russia

Opening Address with Evgenia Kara-Murza

Human rights activist, wife of jailed Russian prisoner of conscience and opposition politician Vladimir Kara-Murza, Evgenia Kara-Murza, addresses the 15th Annual Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy – see below for her remarks. Full Remarks Ladies and gentlemen, dear friends, I am deeply honoured and deeply humbled to be standing on this

China

Long Live the Freedom Fighters with Yang Jianli

Yang Jianli, President of Initiatives for China and former political prisoner, addresses the 15th Annual Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy – see below for his remarks. Full Remarks Good morning, dear friends. In 2016, on this very stage, I said, “Long live the troublemakers.” Today, I want to say, “Long

China

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

China

China’s Colonial Boarding Schools in Tibet with Dr. Gyal Lo

Dr. Gyal Lo, academic expert on China’s mass use of boarding schools to eradicate Tibetan identity and culture, addresses the 15th Annual Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy – see below for his remarks. Full Remarks Dear brothers and sisters, In 2015, I finished my PhD in Sociology of education at

China

Glory to Hong Kong with Frances Hui

Frances Hui, first Hong Kong activist granted political asylum in the US and Director of ‘We the Hong Kongers’ organization, addresses the 15th Annual Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy – see below for her remarks. Full Remarks I want to start with a statement that you may find confusing or

China

Witnessing China’s Re-Education Camps with Kalbinur Sidik

Kalbinur Sidik, Uyghur activist, witness to Chinese reeducation camp atrocities and survivor of forced sterilization, addresses the 15th Annual Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy – see below for her remarks in Uyghur and the corresponding video, followed by the English translation. Full Remarks: Uyghur    ھازىر ، جۇڭگودا جازا لاگېرلىرىدا

Zimbabwe

The Tragedy of Zimbabwe with Fadzayi Mahere

Constitutional lawyer and opposition spokesperson arrested repeatedly in Zimbabwe, Fadzayi Mahere, speaks at the 15th Annual Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy – see below for her remarks. Full Remarks Two years ago, I woke up in an overcrowded jail cell in Zimbabwe’s Maximum Security Prison. No water. No toilet. No underwear.

Afghanistan

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

Iran

2023 International Women’s Rights Award with Shima Babaei

Iranian women’s rights activist Shima Babaei speaks at the 15th annual Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy  – see below her remarks in Persian, followed by the English translation and the corresponding video. Full Remarks: Persian  من از کشوری آمده‌ام که زن بودن در آن جرم است. روزنامه نگاری جرم

Iran

The Iranian Struggle for Freedom: A Call for Global Solidarity with Hillel Neuer, Hadrien Ghomi, Ali Ehsassi, Alireza Akhondi, Dr. Nargess Eskandari-Grünberg

A panel including Member of the French National Assembly outspoken for victims of repression in Iran, Hadrien Ghomi; Mayor of Frankfurt and former political prisoner in Iran, Dr. Nargess Eskandari-Grünberg; Member of the Swedish Parliament and leading campaigner for the EU to designate the IRGC as a terrorist entity, Alireza

China

The Uyghur Human Rights Crisis with Dolkun Isa

President of the World Uyghur Congress and target of intense persecution from the Chinese government, Dolkun Isa, addresses the 15th Annual Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy – see below for his remarks. Full Remarks My name is Dolkun Isa and I am Uyghur. Despite living in the free world, I have felt

North Korea

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

Ukraine

Diary of an Invasion: Eyewitness to Russia’s War on Ukraine with Andrey Kurkov

Highly-acclaimed Russian-born Ukrainian novelist known for his unwavering criticism of Vladimir Putin who reported on the situation on the ground in Ukraine following Russia’s invasion, Andrey Kurkov, addresses the 15th Annual Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy – see below for his remarks. Full Remarks Do I have the right to be tired

Russia

The Terrible Cost of Resisting Putin with Anastasia Shevchenko

Anastasia Shevchenko, the first dissident convicted under Russia’s “undesirable organizations” law, profiled in Oscar-shortlisted film “Anastasia,” addresses the 15th Annual Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy – see below for her remarks. Full Remarks I am a politician by accident. But I was always meant to be a mom.   When I was 21

FGM

Fighting Female Genital Mutilation with Marie-Claire Kakpotia

Survivor and activist fighting to end Female Genital Mutilation, Marie-Claire Kakpotia, addresses the 15th Annual Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy – see below for her remarks. Full Remarks I am very honored to speak here today and I want to thank the Geneva Summit for giving me the opportunity to break the

Turkey

Erdoğan, Journalism & the Elections in Turkey with Nevsin Mengu

Turkish journalist dropped from CNN Türk after she criticized President Erdoğan, Nevşin Mengü  interviewed by journalist and former CNN producer Melissa Mahtani at the 15th Annual Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy – see below for the interview. Interview:  Melissa Mahtani  We have heard some incredibly powerful testimony from our last

Cuba

The Hidden Island: The Life of Cubans Under Dictatorships with Abraham Jiménez Enoa

Prominent Cuban journalist forced into exile, grandson of the bodyguard to Fidel Castro and Che Guevara, Abraham Jiménez Enoa, addresses the 15th Annual Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy – see below his remarks in Spanish, followed by the English translation and the corresponding video. Full Remarks: Spanish A mediados del

Venezuela

Venezuela: Building Unity to Challenge Oppression with Hasler Iglesias

Venezuelan youth leader who went into hiding to escape arrest by the Maduro regime, Hasler Iglesias, addresses the 15th Annual Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy – see below for his remarks. Full Remarks We humans develop a strong sense of belonging to our motherlands. And for me, that’s Venezuela. But my story

Nicaragua

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

Nicaragua

The 2023 Courage Award with Felix Maradiaga

Nicaraguan opposition leader and former political prisoner, targeted by the government on false criminal charges, Félix Maradiaga, is presented with the 2023 Courage Award at the 15th Annual Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy  – see below for his remarks.  Full Remarks This is somewhat surreal. 90 days ago, I was in

Nicaragua

Viva Nicaragua Libre with Felix Maradiaga, Berta Valle, Melissa Mahtani

Nicaraguan opposition leader and former political prisoner, targeted by the government on false criminal charges, Félix Maradiaga, is presented with the 2023 Courage Award at the 15th Annual Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy. He is joined on stage by his wife and recognised Nicaraguan activist, journalist, and human rights defender, Berta

Speakers

Genoveva Tisheva

Vice Chair, U.N Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women

Alireza Akhondi

Swedish MP campaigning for the EU to list the IRGC as a terrorist entity

Ali Ehsassi

Member of Canadian Parliament, Chair of Foreign Affairs Committee

Shima Babaei

Activist imprisoned for removing hijab, daughter of forcibly disappeared dissident Ebrahim Babaei

Javier El-Hage

Chief Legal & Policy Officer at the Human Rights Foundation (HRF)

Hadrien Ghomi

French MP central to France’s response to the Iran Protests

Songmi Han

North Korean escapee and survivor of extreme poverty, oppression, and abandonment.

Frances Hui

First Hong Kong activist to win political asylum in the US, director of We the Hong Kongers

Nila Ibrahimi

15-year-old Hazara activist who narrowly escaped the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan

Hasler Iglesias

Venezuelan youth leader, went into hiding to escape arrest by the Maduro regime

Dolkun Isa

President of the World Uyghur Congress, former pro-democracy student leader targeted in China

Soomaya Javadi

Young Hazara activist who fled Afghanistan following the overthrow of Kabul

Yang Jianli

Chinese dissident, former political prisoner, Tiananmen Square massacre survivor and President of Initiatives for China

Abraham Jiménez Enoa

Prominent Cuban journalist forced into exile, grandson of the bodyguard to Fidel Castro and Che Guevara

Andrey Kurkov

Ukraine’s most famous novelist, author of “Diary of an Invasion” on Russia’s war

Dr. Gyal Lo

Tibetan activist, educational sociologist, and a leading expert on China’s assimilation and education policies in Tibet

Fadzayi Mahere

Constitutional lawyer, opposition spokesperson arrested repeatedly in Zimbabwe

News

Posts

Frances Hui: “Existing is part of resisting”

By Emma Waxlax Ahead of the 26th anniversary of the Hong Kong Handover on July 1st, I interviewed prominent Hong Kong activist Frances Hui (GS’23). Amidst a worsening crackdown on democratic freedoms in Hong Kong, we discuss Hui’s experiences confronting CCP oppression, the situation in her home city today, and

Posts

Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera: “You cannot be free when other people around the world are not free.”

By Emma Waxlax On May 29th, Uganda’s President Museveni signed into law the Anti-Homosexuality Act, a bill that expands already existent legislation targeting homosexuals, trans and gender non-conforming people. Sparking condemnation across the international community, the bill prescribes the death penalty for certain sexual relations involving individuals of the same-sex,

Media Hits

15th Geneva Summit: In the News

  Media Mentions of the 2023 Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy. For videos, photos, transcripts, quotes, and more, click here. CNN interview with Summit speakers, husband and wife Félix Maradiaga and Berta Valle: “‘An audit of the heart’: Nicaraguan dissident Felix Maradiaga and his wife Berta Valle on

Posts

The 15th Geneva Summit: Photos, Videos, and Testimony

15th Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy • Hi-res photos:  Geneva Summit (May 17, 2023) | United Nations Opening (May 16)• Video of full event• Videos of individual speakers Remarks in video and transcript: • Abraham Jiménez Enoa, Prominent Cuban journalist forced into exile, grandson of the bodyguard to

Press releases

Iranian Activist Wins International Women’s Rights Award, Presented by Top U.N. Official

GENEVA, May 18, 2023 —  A coalition of 25 human rights groups yesterday awarded its prestigious women’s rights award to Shima Babaei, an exiled Iranian women’s rights activist and former political prisoner. Click here for transcript and video of her remarks. Ms. Babaei received the 2023 International Women’s Rights Award at the 15th annual Geneva Summit for