18 December 2012
Pakistani Victim of Gang Rape “Justice,” Turned Women's Rights Campaigner, to Headline Geneva Rights Summit on Feb. 19, 2013
GENEVA, Dec. 18 – Women’s rights activist Mukhtar Mai, who made world headlines when she was gang raped as a “punishment” ordered by a Pakistani tribal council, will join other top-name dissidents and activists from Iran, Tibet, Syria and China, for the 5th Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy, on February 19, 2013.
As Pakistan celebrates its recent election to the U.N. Human Rights Council, Mukhtar Mai bears the scars of the real Pakistan, where women victimized in similar cases are expected to commit suicide.
Mai defied this norm. She fought back. Taking her assailants to court, she used the money awarded to her to open the Mukhtar Mai Women’s Welfare Organization, which seeks to stop rape, educate young girls, and raise awareness about women’s rights in Pakistan.
Five of the six men accused of raping Mai remain at large, acquitted in 2011 by Pakistan’s highest court. Despite great personal risk to Mai and her family, she perseveres in fighting for a better future for Pakistani women.
The widely acclaimed annual summit, a focal point for human rights dissidents worldwide, is timed to take place in Geneva days before foreign ministers gather to open a month-long U.N. Human Rights Council session on Feb. 25, 2013. The activists aim to influence the international human rights agenda.
For journalists, the global conference provides a one-stop opportunity to hear from and interview frontline human rights advocates, many of whom have personally suffered imprisonment and torture.
The speakers’ compelling and vivid testimonies will, as in past years, stand in sharp contrast to the Council’s diplomatic haggling over draft resolutions and reports on human rights situations around the world.
Other speakers will address human rights situations in Cuba, North Korea, Sudan, Syria, Russia and Kazakhstan and will speak to the themes of:
Discrimination against women
Jailing of journalists
Persecution of human rights defenders
Click here for a full lineup of the parallel summit’s speakers.
As in other years, the parallel summit will produce alternative draft resolutions for the Council to consider.
The Geneva Summits have enjoyed widespread coverage by major wire services and newspapers, as well as television and radio news outlets. Videos of past speaker testimonies are available at www.genevasummit.org.
Admission to this year’s February 19, 2013 summit is free to the public and media, but registration is mandatory.
For accreditation, program and schedule information, visit www.genevasummit.org.
For interviews or more information, contact:
Arielle Herzog Hadida, Coordinator