Investigator of Philippines President to Speak at U.N., Address Dissidents’ Gathering
High-profile activists to testify on human rights in Russia, Turkey, Tibet, Saudi Arabia, North Korea, Iran & more
Chito Gascon, head of the Philippines Human Rights Commission, recently said the watchdog will investigate
claims by President Rodrigo Duterte that he personally killed drug suspects while mayor of Davao.
GENEVA, Jan. 9, 2017 – A coalition of 20 non-governmental human rights groups announced today that Chito Gascon, head of the Philippines Human Rights Commission, will testify in the U.N. for the opening of the 9th annual Geneva Summit for Human Rights & Democracy, on February 21, 2017.
Mr. Gascon is a key opponent of President Duterte’s policy of carrying out extrajudicial killings of drug suspects, which has provoked a global outcry.
Gascon joins dissidents, activists, victims and relatives of political prisoners from Russia, Turkey and Tibet, who will be testifying on the human rights situation in their countries. A high-profile North Korean defector, and a young Yazidi woman who wrote a book her being raped by ISIS terrorists, will also speak.
Mohamed Nasheed, the veteran human rights activist who was elected president of the Maldives only to be arrested and jailed as a political prisoner, will be one of the keynote speakers. Amal Clooney, his lawyer, has received death threats for defending Nasheed. See selected presenters below.
The acclaimed annual conference is timed to take place in Geneva days before foreign ministers gather to open the 2017 U.N. Human Rights Council session.
“It’s a focal point for dissidents worldwide,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of the Geneva-based UN Watch, which for the ninth year in a row will be organizing the annual event together with a cross-regional coalition of 20 other human rights groups.
The global gathering is acclaimed as a one-stop opportunity to hear from and meet front-line human rights advocates, many of whom have personally suffered imprisonment and torture.
“The speakers’ compelling and vivid testimonies will aim to stir the conscience of the U.N. to address critical human rights situations around the world,” said Neuer.
Subjects on the program this year include discrimination against women, jailing of journalists, prison camps, Internet freedom, religious intolerance, and the persecution of human rights defenders.
Videos of past speaker testimonies are available at www.genevasummit.org.
Admission to this year’s February 21, 2017 summit is free and open to the public, but registration is mandatory. For accreditation, program and schedule information, visit www.genevasummit.org. The conference will also be available via live webcast.
For media inquiries or to request interviews, please email email@example.com
2017 Geneva Summit Presenters include:
|Investigating Philippines President Duterte
Chito Gascon is Chair of the Commission of Human Rights of the Philippines, and a staunch opponent of the extrajudicial war on drugs waged by President Dutente. He is leading figure in the country seeking to ensure that human rights are respected.
|Uncovering Saudi Arabia’s Human Rights Record
James Jones is an Emmy-winning documentary filmmaker. He directed and produced Saudi Arabia Uncovered, which used undercover footage on the ground in Saudi Arabia to expose the Kingdom’s human rights violations to a national TV audience in March 2016.
|Human Rights Hero, President, Political Prisoner
President Mohamed Nasheed, living in exile in Britain since 2016, is considered the Nelson Mandela of the Maldives. A lifelong human rights dissident, he is leader of the opposition and an advocate for democracy in the Maldives. He was violently ousted from the presidency in 2012, and made a political prisoner in 2015.
|Escaped Tibetan to Testify on Slain Religious Leader
Nyima Lhamo escaped Tibet in July 2016, leaving her daughter and mother behind, to speak the truth about the suspicious circumstances of the death of her uncle, prominent Tibetan religious leader Tenzin Delek Rinpoche. He was a political prisoner for 13 years until his sudden death in 2015.
|Russia Today: Daughter of Assassinated Dissident Boris Nemtsov
Zhanna Nemtsova is a journalist and the daughter of the late Russian Deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov. An outspoken critic of Putin, Nemtsov was assassinated in February 2015. Zhanna carries on the legacy of her father as the founder of the Boris Nemtsov Foundation for Freedom.
|Turkey: Assault on Freedom of the Press
Can Dündar is a leading Turkish journalist and the former editor-in-chief of Cumhuriyet newspaper. After he published footage of Turkish State Intelligence transferring weapons to Islamists in Syria, he was arrested and targeted in an assassination attempt. Dündar was forced into exile in June 2016, and now lives in Germany.
|Bride of Russian Political Prisoner Struggles for Justice
Anastasia Zotova married jailed Russian activist Ildar Dadin in a February 2016 ceremony inside his prison. Her husband is serving a three-year sentence for peacefully protesting Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. Zotova continues to advocate for justice as reports of torture against Dadin have surfaced in recent months.
|Organized by UN Watch together with a cross-regional coalition of 20 other human rights NGOs.|
On the eve of the U.N. Human Rights Council’s 2017 session,
courageous champions of human rights from around the world will
unite to place urgent situations on the international agenda.
February 21, 2017
Centre International de Conférences Genève
17 rue de Varembé, 1202 Geneva
Interprétation simultanée en français