RWCHR Co-Hosts Historic 10th Anniversary of Geneva Summit on Rights and Democracy

On the eve of the United Nations Human Rights Council’s main annual session, the Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy assembles each year hundreds of courageous dissidents and human rights champions, diplomats, journalists and student leaders to shine a spotlight on urgent human rights situations that require global attention.

The RWCHR was proud to be a co-sponsor of the Geneva Summit, along with leading human rights NGOs from around the world. Grounded in the success and momentum of the previous gatherings - which have had a wide resonance and been widely acclaimed in the international human rights community - the RWCHR played a leading role on this historic 10th anniversary of the Summit, which had a transformative global impact.

RWCHR Founder and Chair Irwin Cotler spoke on a Panel on the Human Rights Situation in Venezuela, alongside Organization of American States Secretary-General Luis Almagro, and democratically-elected Mayor of Caracas Antonio Ledezma, who recently escaped from unjust imprisonment [pictured].

The Program included RWCHR Senior Fellows Yang Jianli (human rights activist, Tiananmen Square Massacre survivor, and former Chinese political prisoner) Maziar Bahari (human rights documentary filmmaker, acclaimed author, and former Iranian political prisoner), and Javier El-Hage (human rights lawyer and legal counsel to Human Rights Foundation), among other courageous and insightful speakers. Maryam Malekpour, sister of political prisoner Saeed Malekpour, whose case and cause have been taken up by the RWCHR also shared the story of their plight and pain, and what role the public can play.

Prior to also delivering the closing address of the Summit, Professor Cotler bestowed the prestigious Moral Courage Award on behalf of a coalition of 25 NGOS to RWCHR Senior Fellow Vladimir Kara-Murza [pictured]. A survivor of two assassination attempts, Kara-Murza is Russia's leading dissident and democratic opposition leader. He is also President of the Boris Nemtsov Foundation for Freedom - named after the murdered Russian democratic leader for whom he had served as a close advisor and confidante - as well as Vice-Chairman of Open Russia, and a frequent contributor to global human rights discourse, whether in testimony before parliaments or contributions to print and television media.