Published on Jerusalem Post, by SHIRI COHEN, April 20, 2009.
The Geneva Summit which took place on Sunday, April 19th, a day before the Durban Review Conference began, served as strong proof that the issue of human rights violations is very relevant and that it can be discussed respectfully under the right conditions.
In this summit, well-known human rights organizations, activists and speakers gathered in order to share their knowledge on some of the most sensitive matters regarding human rights violations across the world.
President of the Stop Child Executions campaign, Nazanin Afshin-Jam, opened the summit with remarks on the Iranian government and on the suffering of the Iranian people saying “they are prisoners in their own country” …
… The phenomenon of ‘bloggers for freedom’ and the internet’s new frontiers was also discussed; Esra’a Al Shafei, dissident blogger and director of MideastYouth.com referred to the possibilities opened up by the Internet for people to express themselves saying that “Google, Yahoo etc. have responsibilities for human rights” all over the world.
Yoani Sanchez from Cuba, whom was not present at the summit, is one of the most passionate and well-known bloggers, working under a regime known for censorship and human rights violations. Sanchez is giving a voice to the voiceless. In 2008, she was named one of the 100 most influential people in the world.
People such as Sanchez have an ability to make a significant change and it is an eye-opener.
As a student here in Geneva, the stories told and the amazing work of human rights activists, dissidents, genocide survivors and others are just what we needed the day before the Durban II summit starts. (full text).