Global NGO Summit to Unite Activists in Joing Message to UN: "Human Rights are Universal"

Published: September 8, 2012

A coalition of human rights NGOs will hold a summit in New York on September 21-22, 2011 to impress upon world leaders at the UN General Assembly that “human rights are universal.”
 
We Have A Dream: The Global Summit against Discrimination and Persecution will be held next to UN Headquarters in New York at the same time as the 66th Session of the UN General Assembly and the tenth anniversary commemoration of the UN’s Durban conference on racism, discrimination and xenophobia.
 
Dr Katrina Lantos Swett president of the Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice, one of 20 human rights groups organizing the summit said, “More than 60 years after the Universal Declaration of Human Rights promised a world free from inhumanity, fear and intolerance, authoritarian states around the world continue to use widespread violence and hatred against their own citizens.”
 
Jared Genser, founder of Freedom Now, another co-sponsor said, “Our summit will address the full array of human rights concerns, demanding that countries comply with their international legal obligation to respect freedom from torture, arbitrary detention, and censorship, and to put an end to discrimination based on race, religion, ethnicity, gender and sexual preference.”
 
Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, a Geneva-based co-sponsor said, “The global diversity of our participants demonstrates that the claim of fundamental human rights is universal, and not—as gross violators often argue—limited to particular nations and cultures.”
 
Bringing together prominent dissidents and human rights activists from countries with some of the most abysmal human rights records—including China, Syria, Sudan, Zimbabwe, North Korea and Iran—the conference will produce draft UN resolutions for world leaders to adopt on governments that commit genocide, torture, discrimination, and systematically violate civil, religious and political freedoms.
 
Mariane Pearl, an author and vocal advocate for the rights of women in conflict zones, and the widow of slain Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, will headline the summit’s session on empowering women.
 
The stellar line-up of summit presenters also includes Yang Jianli, a senior Chinese human rights activist and veteran of the 1989 Tiananmen Square uprising; Rebiya Kadeer, the voice of China’s oppressed Uyghur minority; Jacqueline Kasha, a courageous defender of LGBT rights in Uganda; Grace Kwanjeh, a Zimbabwean women’s rights activist tortured by the Mugabe regime; Ahed al Hendi, a Syrian writer jailed for opposing the Assad regime; and John Dau, a survivor of genocide in Sudan.
 
Prominent dissidents, former prisoners of conscience, and cyber-activists from Iran, North Korea, Cuba, Egypt, Vietnam and Burma will also participate.

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