Spotlight on Women's Rights: Three Dissidents, Three Countries

On International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, UN Watch and the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna present three dissidents spotlighting women’s rights in Cuba, Iran, Mauritania
Who: Hosted by Geneva-based human rights group UN Watch and the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna. Co-sponsored by UN Women (National Committee, Austria) and the Vienna NGO Committee on the Status of Women.
When: Monday, 25 November 2013, 6.30 pm
Where: Diplomatic Academy of Vienna, Favoritenstraße 15a, 1040 Vienna
What: Interactive panel discussion spotlighting the situation of women’s rights in Cuba, Iran, and Mauritania.
Contact: For interviews, contact UN Watch Executive Director Hillel Neuer,
VIENNA, Nov. 25 – Today, in recognition of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, Geneva-based human rights group UN Watch and the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna will shine a spotlight on critical women’s rights issues through an interactive panel discussion featuring three famous human rights activists and political dissidents from Cuba, Iran, and Mauritania.
UN Watch Executive Director Hillel Neuer will deliver opening remarks on his organization’s work to bring these matters to light at the UN Human Rights Council.
Marina Nemat
Award-winning author of “Prisoner of Tehran.” Arrested at 16 for criticizing state propaganda, she was jailed for two years in Iran’s notorious Evin prison and tortured. Minutes from being executed by a firing squad, she was forced to marry her jailer—and convert from Christianity to Islam—to save her life.
Rosa Maria Paya 
Rosa Maria Paya is a Cuban activist. She is the daughter of Oswaldo Paya, the leading Cuban pro-democracy dissident, who died in a suspicious car crash in 2012. Rosa carries on her father’s work and is spearheading an international appeal for an independent inquiry into his death. Threatened by the Cuban government, she was forced to flee her native country and now resides in the USA.
Abidine Merzough
Abidine Merzough was born in the West African country of Mauritania and now lives in Germany. A descendant of former slaves, he has devoted his life to the fight against slavery and discrimination in his native country. He serves as the European coordinator for the Initiative for the Resurgence of the Abolitionist Movement in Mauritania (IRA), anti-slavery NGO. “Women slaves are allowed to be sexually abused whenever their masters want,” says Merzough. “The slaves must obey. This is Islamic law as it exists in Mauritania today.”


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