Human Rights Heroes to Unite for 11th Geneva Summit

An international coalition of 25 human rights organizations will hold its 11th annual gathering of human rights dissidents on Tuesday, March 26, 2019, at Geneva’s Palexpo Convention Center.

The 2019 Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy will hold its opening session at the Palace of Nations, the European headquarters of the United Nations, on the heels of the UN Human Rights Council’s main annual session.

The renowned Geneva Summit for Human Rights assembles hundreds of courageous dissidents, human rights activists, diplomats, journalists, and student leaders to shine a spotlight on urgent human rights situations that require global attention, from Venezuela to Saudi Arabia, North Korea to Zimbabwe.

The event will showcase the voices of the world’s true human rights defenders, many of whom have suffered torture, as well as family members of political prisoners.

Last year’s conference drew a standing-room-only audience of more than 700 participants. International media coverage included more than 85 separate TV, radio and newspaper stories and interviews. The 2019 Summit is already slated to exceed last year’s impact. The remarkable lineup of speakers for 2019 includes:

Ensaf Haidar is a human rights activist and the wife of Saudi human rights blogger Raif Badawi, who was sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes for setting up an online platform for political and religious debate. Haidar is a tireless advocate for her husband’s release.

Ambassador Diego Arria represented Venezuela at the United Nations and served as president of the UN Security Council. He is now a leading activist in the democratic opposition. Arria was a staunch opponent of Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez, denouncing him at the International Criminal Court.

Nurcan Baysal is a Kurdish author and human rights defender who was detained in 2018 for her advocacy. She has worked for many years to defend western Turkey’s forcibly migrated Kurdish population. Baysal was recently chosen by Front Line Defenders to receive their 2018 Award for Human Rights Defenders at Risk.