February 20, 2015

SAUDI ARABIA: 20 Human Rights Groups To Bestow Courage Award Upon Saudi Liberty Blogger At Geneva Summit, Raif Badawi Sentenced To 10 Years In Prison And 1,000 Public Lashes By Saudi Kingdom For Insulting Islam.

Liberal International is proud to jointly bestow the 2015 Geneva Summit Courage Award on رائف بدوي Raif Badawi .

Raif was selected by LI and 19 other non-governmental organisations for his promotion and defence of liberal values, which earned him 10 years' imprisonment and 1,000 lashes in #SaudiArabia - a sentence he continues to serve.

The award will be presented to Mr. Badawi's wife next week during LI's participation in the Geneva Summit.

Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy
written by Staff
Tuesday February 17, 2015

On eve of UN rights session, global coalition of dissidents will spotlight urgent human rights situations and call for action

GENEVA, February 17– A coalition of 20 non-governmental human rights groups announced today that Saudi blogger and rights activist Raif Badawi — sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes for “insulting Islam” by creating a website for Saudi liberals — has been selected as the 2015 recipient of the prestigious Geneva Summit Courage Award. Last year’s prize went to blind Chinese lawyer Chen Guangcheng.

“I am very happy to hear this,” said Ensaf Haidar, Badawi’s wife, now based in Canada, who will be accepting the award by video when it is presented next week in a ceremony before UN delegates, human rights activists and journalists, on Tuesday, February 24th, 2015, at the 7th annual Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy. (See list of speakers below.)

The NGO coalition is honoring Badawi “for inspiring the world with his extraordinary courage in the defense of liberty and universal human rights.”

The conference will feature top-name activists, former political prisoners and victims from China, Russia, Iran, and many other human rights hotspots, who will seek to influence foreign ministers gathering across the street days later to open the annual session of the UN Human Rights Council.

On January 9, Badawi received the first 50 lashes, and was due to receive the remainder over 19 weeks. Following international outrage, he has been spared each Friday since then, but remains in prison. Prince Charles raised Badawi’s plight with the Saudi king last week.

Saudi Arabia is member of UNHRC, has never been scrutinized

Bringing the story of Saudi Arabia’s brutal flogging of a human rights activist to the doorstep of the UNHRC is particularly important given Saudi Arabia’s ill-advised membership on the 47-nation council.

Badawi’s arrest and sentencing came on the heels of a clampdown across the kingdom against any dissent. His crime was the creation of a blog called “Free Saudi Liberals,” which encourages free discussion about Islam and its role in the country.

There has never been a UNHRC resolution on the situation of human rights Saudi Arabia, despite having one of the world’s worst records on freedom of religion and other fundamental rights. Instead, Saudi Arabia holds a seat of power and influence as an elected member of the UNHRC.

Liberal International Hails Prize “

As co-hosts of the Geneva Summit, Liberal International is pleased to join forces with UN Watch and 18 other NGOs, to continue to fight for Raif Badawi’s liberation,” said Markus Loening, chair of Liberal International’s Human Rights Committee, and former human rights commissioner of the German government.

“Raif Badawi displayed enormous personal courage in his fight for the most fundamental liberal value: freedom of speech. This he has done under the most perilous of conditions."

“He should be assured that he is not alone in his struggle against suppression of basic liberties in Saudi Arabia and I hope that this award will be recognized as a symbol of the importance of tolerance in any society. For oppression to thrive, critical voices need only remain silent.”

Geneva Summit: Unique Gathering of Human Rights Heroes

For journalists, next week’s Geneva Summit 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 press UNHRC delegates not to allow politics to override the cries of human rights victims. Additional speakers will include:

· Alex Chow & Lester Shum, Student leaders of Hong Kong protest movement
· Saa, Nigerian schoolgirl who escaped from Boko Haram
· Pierre Torres, French Journalist held hostage by ISIS for 10 months · Yavuz Baydar, Turkish journalist
· Mustafa Nayyem, Ukrainian MP, journalist, initiator of Maydan protests · Maria Baronova, Russian human rights activist · Tamara Suju, Venezuelan human rights lawyer
· Yeon-Mi Park, 21-year-old North Korean defector · Ashiq Masih, Husband of Asia Bibi, on death row in Pakistan for blasphemy
· Masih Alinejad, Iranian freelance journalist · Dicki Chhoyang, Central Tibetan Administration
· Il Lim,North Korean defector and former slave laborer
· Maria Corina Machado, Venezuelan opposition leader
· Juan Francisco Sigler Amaya, Cuban human rights activist
· Manuel Cuesta Morua, Cuban dissident leader · Javier El-Hage, General Counsel, Human Rights Foundation
· Fouzia Elbayed, Moroccan MP, Human Rights Committee of Liberal International · Yang Jianli, Former Chinese political prisoner, survivor of Tiananmen Square massacre, president of Initiatives for China
· Ladan Boroumand, Abdorrahman Boroumand Foundation for Human Rights and Democracy in Iran, member of Steering Committee of World Movement for Democracy
· Subhas Gujadhur, Director, Universal Rights Group

Now in its seventh year, the annual conferences of the Geneva Summit have enjoyed widespread coverage by major wire services and newspapers, as well as television and radio news outlets.

No comments: