Iran’s Abuses To Take Center Stage at Geneva Rights Summit Ahead of First U.N. Debate With Commission of Inquiry

GENEVA, April 19, 2023 — Ahead of the U.N.’s first debate with its new commission of inquiry into Iran’s bloody crackdown against thousands of women’s rights protesters, a coalition of 25 human rights groups announced today that they will be bringing Iranian victims of atrocities and international experts to address a special session on Tehran’s systematic human rights abuses at the upcoming 15th Annual Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy.

The event will take place next to the United Nations Human Rights Council on May 17, 2023, weeks before the 47-nation body holds its first interactive dialogue between U.N. country representatives and the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on the Islamic Republic of Iran, which in June will present its initial findings in an oral report to the world’s top human rights forum.

Ahead of that critical debate, at a time when Iranian women are risking everything for their rights despite continued attacks, the Geneva Summit will bring leading advocates and lawmakers to address women’s role in the protest movement, the stakes for the future of freedom and democracy in Iran, and how the world can act in solidarity with the Iranian people and Iranian women.

Confirmed speakers for the 15th Geneva Summit’s special session on Iran include:

  • Shima Babaei, Activist imprisoned for removing hijab, daughter of forcibly disappeared dissident Ebrahim Babaei
  • Darya Safai, Member of Belgian Parliament, fighting for the rights of Iranian women
  • Hadrien Ghomi, Member of French National Assembly, outspoken for victims of repression in Iran
  • Alireza Akhondi, Member of Swedish Parliament campaigning for the EU to list IRGC as a terrorist entity
  • Ali Ehsassi, Member of Canadian Parliament, Chair of Foreign Affairs Committee

For the full list of Geneva Summit speakers, addressing numerous urgent human rights situations around the globe, please see our media kit.

Speakers are available for interviews prior to the event, and in person on the day of the event. For media inquiries or interview requests, please email media[] to speak with Pat Rose. 

The 15th annual Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy will provide an vital international platform to courageous dissidents fighting tyranny, as well as families of political prisoners, from China, Iran, Russia, Cuba, Afghanistan, Hong Kong, Turkey, Venezuela and Zimbabwe.

The acclaimed annual event draws a standing-room only audience of more than 800 participants — diplomats, UN officials, lawmakers, activists, and student leaders — along with international coverage in major media including CNN, BBC, Al Jazeera, Le Monde and TIME magazine.

Other speakers at Geneva Summit 2023 include:

Evgenia Kara Murza, Human rights activist, wife of jailed Russia prisoner of conscience and opposition politician Vladimir Kara-Murza

Yang Jianli, President of Initiatives for China, former political prisoner

Peter Yang, Son of Guo Feixiong, imprisoned Chinese “barefoot lawyer” and civil rights activist

Dr. Gyal Lo, Academic expert on China’s mass use of boarding schools to eradicate Tibetan identity and culture

Frances Hui, First Hong Kong activist granted political asylum in the US, Director of We the Hong Kongers organization

Qelbinur Sidik, Uyghur activist, witness to Chinese reeducation camp atrocities, survivor of forced sterilization

Fadzayi Mahere, Constitutional lawyer and opposition spokesperson arrested repeatedly in Zimbabwe

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

Dolkun Isa, President of the World Uyghur Congress

Songmi Han, North Korean escapee and survivor of extreme poverty, oppression, and abandonment

Andrey Kurkov, Renowned Ukrainian novelist, author of “Diary of an Invasion” on Russia’s war

Anastasia Shevchenko, First dissident convicted under Russia’s “undesirable organizations” law, profiled in Oscar-shortlisted film “Anastasia”

Marie-Claire Kakpotia, Survivor and activist fighting to end Female Genital Mutilation

Nevşin Mengü, Turkish journalist dropped from CNN Turk after she criticized President Erdogan

Melissa Mahtani, Journalist, former CNN producer

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

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

Hillel Neuer, Executive Director of United Nations Watch, on behalf of the 25 NGO co-sponsors of the Geneva Summit

Javier El-Hage, Chief Legal and Policy Officer at Human Rights Foundation


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