For Immediate Release: August 31, 2007
ATLANTA — Leading human rights defenders from more than 20 countries will meet here September 6 and 7 at a forum sponsored by Human Rights First and The Carter Center to discuss the role of human rights defenders in addressing mass atrocities.
The Policy Forum brings human rights defenders directly into contact with leaders from governments and international organizations to influence policies and improve human rights conditions.
Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour will co-chair the event. Other participants include Hina Jilani, U.N. Special Representative to the Secretary-General on Human Rights Defenders, and Francis Deng, Special Advisor to the U.N. Secretary General for the Prevention of Genocide and Mass Atrocities.
This year, the meeting’s substantive focus will be on the role played by human rights defenders in addressing mass violations of human rights, including crimes against humanity. Participating activists include individuals with direct experience in responding to these human rights crises. The meeting will discuss ways to engage faith communities, to encourage support for those working to uphold respect for human dignity around the world.
The Carter Center is located at 453 Freedom Parkway in Atlanta.
The forum is generally open to media coverage, although some participants may wish not to be quoted or identified. Highlights of the meetings include speeches by Pres. Carter and High Commissioner Louise Arbour on Thursday morning and a press conference Friday afternoon. Interviews with individual defenders can also be arranged by request.
A detailed listing of events follows.
Thursday, September 6, 2007
9:00 to 9:55 a.m.
Keynote Speech: President Jimmy Carter
Louise Arbour, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights
Maureen Byrnes, Executive Director, Human Rights First
10:20-11:30 a.m. Session 1
Overcoming Global Inaction to Prevent Mass Violations of Human Rights: Lessons from Recent Crises
Featured Presenter and Moderator: Francis Deng, Special Advisor to the U.N. Secretary General for the Prevention of Genocide and Mass Atrocities
Mossaad Mohamed Ali, Amel Centre for the Treatment and Rehabilitation of Victims of Torture in South Darfur
Sonja Biserko, Director, Serbian Helsinki Committee, Serbia and Montenegro
Saad Eddin Ibrahim, President, Ibn Khaldoun Center for Development Studies, Egypt
12:00-1:15 p.m. Session 2
Societies in Transition: The Role of Human Rights Defenders in Peace-Building, Accountability and Reconstruction
Roberto Garreton, UN Advisory Committee on Prevention of Genocide, Chile
Apollinaire Malumalu, Independent Election Commission, DRC
Helen Mack, President Myrna Mack Foundation, Guatemala
Kamala Chandrakirana, Secretary General, National Commission on Violence Against Women, Indonesia
2:10-3:30 p.m. Session 3
Advancing Social and Economic Justice as the Foundation of Peace and Human Dignity
Fr. Jean-Juste, Haitian Refugee Center, Haiti
Jessica Montell, Executive Director. B’tselem, Israel
Mitri Raheb, International Center of Bethlehem
Roshaneh Zafar, Managing Director, Kashf, Pakistan
Friday, September 7, 2007
9:00-10:00a.m. Session 5
Multilateral Organizations and Support for Defenders Working on Mass Violations
Opening Remarks: Louise Arbour
Moderator: Maureen Byrnes, Human Rights First
Hina Jilani, U.N. Special Representative to the Secretary-General on Human Rights Defenders
Victor H. Madrigal-Borloz, Inter-American Commission on Human Rights
Reine Alapini-Gansou, African Union Special Representative on Human Rights Defenders
10:00 – 11:00 a.m. Comments of Governmental Representatives
Jonathan Farrar, Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy Human Rights and Labor, United States
Wolfgang Bruelhart, Head of Human Rights Policy Section, Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDAF) Switzerland
Prince Zeid Ra’ad Zeid Al Hussein, Ambassador of Jordan to the United States and former President of the Assembly of States Parties to the International Criminal Court (to be confirmed)
11:15-12:15 a.m. Session 6
U.S. Faith Communities’ Responses to Human Rights Violations
Gloria White Hammond, My Sister’s Keeper
Ingrid Mattson, President, Islamic Society of North America
Jimmy Allen, New Baptist Covenant
12:45- 1:30 p.m. Closing Remarks /Press Conference
Pres. Jimmy Carter