Award Ceremony at UN Watch’s 8th Annual Geneva Summit, Opening Next Week at United Nations
Days before world leaders gather at UNHRC in Geneva, a global summit of dissidents
led by UN Watch on Feb. 23 will spotlight human rights situations in China, Cuba, Iraq,
North Korea, Eritrea, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, Venezuela & more
|Vian Dakhil, a Yazidi member of the Iraqi parliament, famously made an emotional speech that stirred President Obama to rescue Yazidis in 2014.
|Dr. Jan Ilhan Kizilhan is a German psychologist who has treated over 1,100 female Yazidi and other victims of ISIS sexual enslavement.
GENEVA, February 19, 2016 — One of the world’s most prestigious international women’s rights awards will go this year to Vian Dakhil, a Yazidi member of the Iraqi parliament, and to German psychologist Jan Ilhan Kizilhan, for their “extraordinary and inspiring” work to rescue Yazidi and other women enslaved, assaulted, and sexually abused by ISIS in Syria and Iraq, a global coalition of 25 human rights organizations led by UN Watch announced today.
Both laureates will personally receive the 2016 Geneva Summit’s International Women’s Rights Award at a major ceremony to take place this Tuesday, February 23, 2016, where they will address UN diplomats, several hundred human rights activists, and journalists from around the world attending the 8th annual Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy.
Vian Dakhil Broke Into Tears
Ms. Dakhil broke into tears during a parliament session in August 2014 while describing the plight of her fellow Yazidis during the onslaught by ISIS in northern Iraq.
Ms. Dakhil’s impassioned plea made the world sit up and take notice, and was instrumental in President Obama’s decision to order airdrops of urgent supplies and airstrikes against ISIS.
Due to her tireless work to provide solace for and rebuild the shattered lives of traumatized ISIS escapees, she is today at the top of ISIS’s hit list.
Comment by Vian Dakhil
“I am honored to have been selected for this prestigious award on behalf of all women victims of ISIS,” said Dakhil. “The Yazidi community has been victimized by ISIS, especially the women and girls. The world needs to do more to release the girls in ISIS captivity and protect the human rights of all the people under ISIS control.”
Dr. Jan Ilhan Kizilhan is a German psychologist who operates a unique clinic in Iraq’s Kurdish region where he has treated over 1,100 female Yazidi and other victims of ISIS abuse, with the most severe cases sent to Baden-Württemberg, in southwest Germany, for a period of intensive treatment.
The $100 million “preventative asylum” project is funded by the Baden-Württemberg state government. For Dr. Kizilhan, himself a Turkish-born Yazidi who immigrated to Germany at age 6, it’s personal. Islamic State doesn’t see Yazidis like him as human.
“As a scientist you learn that ideology can blind people,” he told the Wall Street Journal‘s Sohrab Ahmari, who will also be participating at Tuesday’s Geneva Summit. “In the morning they rape children, and at night when they go home they’re loving fathers and husbands.” To treat ISIS as just another al Qaeda-style terror group, Kizilhan warned in his WSJ interview, is to ignore the “Nazi-like,” genocidal evolution of its Islamist worldview.
“On each of his visits to Iraqi Kurdistan, Mr. Kizilhan interviews dozens of women to identify those most in need of evacuation. Most are Yazidis and Christians, with smaller numbers of Shiite Muslims. He is now close to the program’s head-count limit, forcing him to make wrenching decisions as the women take him on a tour of the depths of Islamic State depravity,” reported the WSJ.
Comment by Dr. Kizilhan
“I am honored to have been selected for this prestigious award on behalf of all women victims of ISIS,” said Professor Kizilhan. “The state government of Baden-Württemberg in Germany has brought 1,100 women and girls to Germany for treatment after they were released from ISIS captivity. Yet, hundreds more are still held captive and we need to keep on fighting for their release.”
25 NGOs to Present 2016 International Women’s Rights Award at Geneva Summit
Dakhil and Kizilhan were chosen “for their extraordinary work to protect the most basic human rights of Yazidi women” said Hillel Neuer, the executive director of UN Watch, a co-organizer of the conference together with Liberal International, Human Rights Foundation, and more than 20 other human rights groups.
Last year’s prize went to Masih Alinejad, Iranian women’s rights campaigner and creator of the My Stealthy Freedom project
Geneva Summit Seeks to Influence Foreign Ministers Days Before
They Gather for 10th Anniversary of UN Human Rights Council
The two-day Geneva Summit will feature presentations by top-name activists, former political prisoners and victims from North Korea, China, Russia, Iran and many other human rights hotspots, with the aim of placing key issues on the global agenda days before UN chief Ban Ki-moon and numerous foreign ministers gather across the street to open the 10th anniversary session of the UN Human Rights Council.
Assembly of World Champions of Human Rights
Next week’s Geneva Summit provides a one-stop opportunity to hear from frontline human rights advocates, many of whom have personally suffered imprisonment and torture.
The speakers’ compelling and vivid testimonies will press UNHRC delegates not to allow politics to override the cries of human rights victims.
Speakers will include:
· Svitlana Zalishchuk, Ukrainian MP and key figure in 2013 EuroMaidan movement
· Yang Jianli, Former Chinese political prisoner, survivor of Tiananmen Square massacre
· Vian Dakhil, Iraq’s only female Yazidi MP and champion of ISIS victims
· Jan Ilhan Kizilhan, German psychologist who treats female ISIS victims
· Ensaf Haidar, Wife of jailed Saudi blogger Raif Badawi, recipient of 2015 Geneva Summit Courage Award
· Anastasia Lin, Miss World Canada 2015, advocate for human rights in China
· Jigme Golog, Tibetan monk and filmmaker recently released from jail
· Darya Safai, Campaigner for Iranian women’s rights
· Orhan Kemal Cengiz, Turkish human rights lawyer & columnist
· Daniel Mekonnen, Exiled Eritrean human rights lawyer and scholar
· Lee Young-guk, Bodyguard to former North Korean Dictator Kim Jong-Il who fled to South Korea
· Rosa Maria Paya, Cuban human rights activist and daughter of late dissident Oswaldo Paya
· Polina Nemirovskaia, Russian human rights activist
· Joan Hoey, Editor of The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Democracy Index
· Lord David Trimble, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and former First Minister of Northern Ireland
· Christopher Walker, VP, National Endowment for Democracy
· Irwin Cotler, Former Canadian Minister of Justice and lawyer for political prisoners
Now in its eighth year, the annual conferences of the Geneva Summit have enjoyed widespread coverage by CNN, Le Monde, and other major media.
Admission to this year’s February 23, 2016 summit is free to the public and media, but registration is mandatory. For registration, program and schedule information, visit www.genevasummit.org.
All sessions will be live webcast next Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2016, starting at 9:15 am Geneva time, at www.genevasummit.org