Today: Daughter of Dead Cuban Dissident Oswaldo Paya to Call for International Inquiry at Geneva Rights Summit



See full conference program below

GENEVA, Feb. 19 – In a rare development, the daughter of a famous Cuban dissident who was recently killed in a mysterious car crash successfully flew from Havana to a Geneva human rights summit to call for an international inquiry into her father’s death.paya-4
Rosa Maria Paya, a 23-year-old activist in her own right, joins other top-name dissidents and activists from Iran, Tibet, Syria and China, at today’s 5th Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy.

One week before foreign ministers assemble in Geneva to open the annual session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, a cross-regional coalition of 20 human rights groups have gathered courageous dissidents and democracy activists in a bid to focus attention on urgent situations of gross human rights abuse.
Famous survivors of North Korean concentration camps spoke this morning. Other speakers today include renowned activists from Cuba, Kazakhstan, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia, Sudan, Syria, and Tibet, meeting in a concerted effort to influence the UN human rights agenda. For blog posts and photos, see
The speakers are addressing discrimination against women, the jailing of journalists, prison camps, Internet freedom, religious intolerance, and the persecution of human rights defenders. For a full line-up of the parallel summit’s speakers, click here or see below.
Now in its fifth year, the summit has won widespread media coverage. Videos of past speaker testimonies are available at
9:30     Session I: Women’s Rights: The Struggle for Human Dignity
Moderator: Tom Gross, Journalist and international affairs commentator
Colette Braeckman, Reporter on sexual violence in Congo
Mukhtar Mai, Pakistani rape victim, women’s rights activist
Marina Nemat, Iranian author and activist
11:00    Session II: Crimes Against Humanity: Slavery, Genocide and Concentration Camps — In Our Own Time?
Moderator: James Kirchick, Journalist
Abidine Merzough, Mauritanian anti-slavery activist
Shin Dong-Hyuk , North Korean defector
Kang Chol-Hwan, North Korean defector
Mukesh Kapila, Expert on Darfur genocide, Aegis Trust
14:30     Session III: Authoritarianism and Human Rights: The Police State and Its Victims
Moderator: Philippe Robinet, President and Director of Kero editions
Dicki Chhoyang, Tibetan Foreign Minister in Exile
Régis Iglesias Ramirez, Cuban poet, former prisoner of conscience
Randa Kassis, Syrian activist
Rosa Maria Paya, Daughter of killed Cuban dissident Oswaldo Paya 
16:00     Session IV: Freedom of Expression Under Assault: From Moscow to the Middle East: The Silencing of Critical Voices
Moderator: Guy Mettan, Executive Director of the Swiss Press Club
Pyotr Verzilov, Husband of Pussy Riot musician now in prison, Russian activist
Lukpan Akhmedyarov, Kazakh dissident, newspaper editor, was stabbed 8 times last year for speaking out
Kacem El Ghazzali, Moroccan blogger and atheist subjected to death threats
The conference is taking place at the Geneva International Conference Center.
For interviews or more information, contact:
Arielle Herzog Hadida, Coordinator

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UN Watch