Marking Human Rights Day by Pursuing Justice for Political Prisoners

The RWCHR joined the Co-Chairs of the Raoul Wallenberg All-Party Parliamentary Caucus for Human Rights in coming together on the eve of International Human Rights day - commemorating the 69th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights - and on the 4th anniversary of the passing of human rights champion Nelson Mandel

The families of political prisoners – including Ensaf Haidar [pictured above, left] , wife of Saudi Blogger Raif badawi; and Ti-Anna Wang [pictured above, second from left], daughter of Chinese pro-democracy leader Dr. Wang Bingzhang - joined Parliamentarians in Ottawa to highlight the cases and causes of their imprisoned loved ones, and what role Canada can play in seeking their freedom. For a video of the press conference, which aired on television and online: Click Here 

This major Human Rights Day initiative included meetings with civil society, government, ministers, and parliamentarians. Members of Parliament were so impacted by the plight and pain of the prisoners and their families that representatives of every major political party were moved to deliver an SO31 parliamentary public statement calling for their release.

This day of pursuing justice was inspired by the lessons and legacy of Nelson Mandela - a heroic role model - whose release had a transformative impact on South Africa, thereby demonstrating the moral imperative of freeing political prisoners. Each of the prisoners highlighted on the occasion of this Human Rights Day embody the Mandela ethos, and is a heroic role model in their own right.

Political Prisoners highlighted include:

  • Raif Badawi – Saudi Blogger, imprisoned in Saudi Arabia
  • Dr. Wang Bingzhang - Chinese pro-democracy leader, imprisoned in China
  • Sun Qian - Canadian Falun Gong practitioner, imprisoned in China
  • Leopoldo Lopez - Venezuela Democratic Opposition Leader, imprisoned in Venezuela
  • Saeed Malekpour - Canadian permanent resident, imprisoned in Iran
  • Ayatollah Boroujerdi - Iranian peace and religious tolerance advocate, imprisoned in Iran 

The RWCHR day of advocacy for political prisoners generated widespread media coverage and important public sensitization. Every major news outlet in French and English Canada covered the Human Rights Day initiative, including La Presse, the National Post and Toronto Star.

For the article in the National Post: Click Here

For the article in the Toronto Star: Click Here

There was also significant international media attention, including coverage in the British, Spanish, German, and Arabic press.

Learn More about the Centre's work with political prisoners