Human Rights Leaders from More than 20 Countries to Meet September 6 and 7 in Atlanta to Discuss Prevention of Mass Atrocities, Role of Faith in Advancing Rights

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.



9:00 to 9:55 a.m.

Keynote Speech: President Jimmy Carter

Opening Remarks:

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


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

Maureen Byrnes

Pres. Jimmy Carter

Louise Arbour


Published on August 31, 2007


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