Over 700 human rights and democracy activists, dissidents, victims, diplomats, journalists and student leaders assembled for the 10th time in Geneva on 20 February 2018 to highlight urgent human rights situations that require global attention. Unfortunately, there were no Eritrean witnesses appearing at the stage to tell the sad tale of their people and country.
The Geneva Summit, sponsored by a coalition of 25 human rights NGOs from around the world, is held annually on the eve of the UN Human Rights Council's main annual session with the aim of influencing positively the decisions of the 47-member Council which is blamed for including some wrong countries in its membership and for having failed to take meaningful action on a number of disturbing human rights situations in the world.(Click here for details:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xcDfswdOUqw).
President of the Organization of American States/OAS, Mr. Luis Almagro, was one of the 22 speakers who took the stage at the Summit as panelists, witnesses and moderators. In opening the panel discussion on "Fighting Authoritarianism", he stated that no regime becomes dictatorial overnight; it is the silence, the cowardice of "looking the other way" that gives birth and life to oppressive dictatorships everywhere, as it occurred in Venezuela. Almost every speaker also referred to the upcoming 70th anniversary of the adoption here in Geneva of Universal Declaration of Human Rights document by Eleanor Roosevelt and her co-activists.
Zimbabwe's Pastor Evan Mawarire was one of the sharp voices at the Summit who started his captivating speech by calling a minute of silence in memory of the Zimbabwean opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, whose funeral was taking place the same morning. Pastor Mawarire, himself a big mass mobilizer against Mugabe's extended authoritarian rule, sent his advice to all strugglers that they should "never ever lose hope" even when the fight becomes uphill and steep.
"When you violate women's rights, you destroy a society". This was another African, Julienne Lusenge, speaking at the Summit. Ms Lusenge won this year's Women's Award of the Geneva Summit for her effective mobilization for the fight for women's rights in Congo (DRC) by motivating women to establish 40 women's advocacy groups in her country.
Among the presenters were activists like Professor Irwin Cotler, former Canadian minister of just who is known to be one of those at the forefront of the struggle for human rights; Farida Abbas Khalaf, a Yazidi/Iraqi survivor of extreme abuses of the ISIS, and many human rights heroes, activists and former political prisoners from China, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia, Venezuela and other countries who testified harrowing stories of their personal struggles for human rights, democracy and freedom.
The Eritrean Law Society is one of the 25 sponsor/organizer NGOs of the annual Geneva Summits. The Eritrean People's Democratic Party (EPDP) attended the 10th Geneva Summit as represented by its head for Foreign Relations Office.