GENEVA, February 19, 2018 – Zimbabwean democracy dissident and protest leader Pastor Evan Mawarire today addressed the United Nations opening of the 10th Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy — see quotes below. For links to other speakers’ quotes, videos, photos, livestream, and more, click here.

On speaking out against president of Zimbabwe Robert Mugabe:

  • “I have children of my own. I was not prepared to allow a man that had taken the dreams of my grandfather, the dreams of my father, and now my own dreams, to also take my children’s dreams.”
  • “It is a shame that the men and women who became our liberators in 1980, later became our oppressors.”
  • “Hope is the only thing you have left when you have lost everything.”
  • “If we cannot cause the politicians to change then we must inspire the citizens to be bold.”

On being arrested:

  • “I spent much of 2017 in and out of prison. I was arrested at the airport on the first of February 2017. I was put in a maximum security prison and even when I got out on bail my passport was taken away. I have not seen my family in well over a year.”

On change of power in Zimbabwe:

  • “The message from our new president is: “Zimbabwe is open for business, but the question we should be asking is whether Zimbabwe is open for freedom.”
  • “More than anything else what we need is not just an economic breakthrough but a breakthrough of democracy and the rule of law.”