Rights Summit To Spotlight Zimbabwean Opposition As Ruling Party Suffers Election Shock

GENEVA, March 27, 2022 – By-election results released Sunday revealed that Zimbabwe’s ruling ZANU-PF party had suffered significant losses in a vote viewed as a dry run for the country’s 2023 general election. President Mnangagwa’s party lost 19 of the 28 constituencies contested to a growing opposition movement which will be spotlighted at the April 6 Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy.

The 14th annual event will hear from Hopewell Chin’ono, an investigative journalist and opposition leader imprisoned three times in the past two years. Chin’ono will explain the corruption at the heart of Mnangagwa’s government and evaluate the opposition’s chances in the 2023 elections before an audience of dissidents and diplomats from around the world.

Reflecting on the results, Chin’ono said “it is a time to perfect our act and win change for all citizens including those in ZANU-PF. The work to undo corrupt rule begins from today!”

Chin’ono will be joined at the Geneva Summit by 20 other champions of human rights, who will all tell compelling personal stories of arrest and imprisonment by the world’s worst regimes. Speakers include Alexei Navalny’s Chief of Staff Leonid Volkov, Cuban dissident Rosa Maria Paya and award-nominated actress and rights activist Nazanin Boniadi.

Sponsored by a coalition of over 25 NGOs including United Nations Watch and the Human Rights Foundation, the annual Geneva Summit will take place at the CICG in Geneva, Switzerland, on April 6, 2022.

Admission to this year’s April 6 Summit is free and open to the public, but registration is mandatory. The conference will also be available via live webcast.

For media inquiries, please contact Pat Rose at media@genevasummit.org.

2022 Summit speakers include:

Enes Kanter Freedom, Turkish NBA player and activist currently risking his career to speak out against China’s persecution of the Uyghurs, and winner of the Geneva Summit 2022 Courage Award

Sophie Luo, Wife of imprisoned and tortured Chinese human rights lawyer Ding Jiaxi, a prominent member of the New Citizens Movement, a group of activists calling for greater government transparency and an end to state corruption.

Timothy Cho, North Korean human rights activist and two-time defector, who survived torture and two imprisonments before escaping to the UK where he works with the UK All-Party Parliamentary Group on North Korea.

Zarifa Ghafari, Afghanistan’s youngest-ever female mayor and survivor of three Taliban assasination attempts, who escaped Afghanistan in 2021 by hiding in the footwell of a car on her journey to the Kabul airport.

Areej al-Sadhan, Sister of Abdulrahman al-Sadhan, a humanitarian aid worker who was kidnapped in Riyadh by Saudi authorities during a mass crackdown on human right activists in 2018 for posting satirical tweets about the regime.

Hamlet Lavastida, Cuban artist and Amnesty International recognized prisoner of conscience released in late 2021 on condition of exile.

Hassan Akkad, Award-winning Syrian filmmaker who was arrested and tortured for protesting the Assad regime, and had a face-to-face audience with Bashar al-Assad before escaping Syria.

Hopewell Chin’ono, Zimbabwean journalist imprisoned three times for reporting on government corruption.

Joey Siu, Hongkongese-American activist, policy advisor at Hong Kong Watch, and advisor to the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC), arrested in October 2021 for protesting the Beijing Olympics.

Leonid Volkov, chief of staff to imprisoned opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who ran Navalny’s campaigns for Mayor of Moscow in 2012 and his bid to get onto the presidential ballot in 2018.

Mariam Claren, Daughter of political prisoner Nahid Taghavi, a German-Iranian women’s rights activist sentenced to more than ten years in Iran’s Evin prison for propaganda activities against the regime. 

Miguel Henrique Otero, Owner and CEO of El Nacional, Venezuela’s last remaining independent media outlet whose headquarters were seized in February, forced into exile for speaking out against the Maduro regime.

Minh-Hoang Pham, Vietnamese math professor who wrote a blog critical of the regime and taught activism to his students at Ho Chi Minh City University, jailed and then deported to France.

Rushan Abbas, Founder of the Campaign for Uyghurs and sister to detained Uyghur doctor Gulshan Abbas.

Tatsiana Khomich, Belarusian Coordination Council Representative for Political Prisoners and the sister of imprisoned opposition leader Maria Kalesnikava.

Tenzin Tsundue, Tibetan writer and activist who recently completed a 127-day 20,000km protest Himalayan protest hike to draw attention to China’s aggressive expansionist policies along  the Sino-India border.

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