Carter Center to Hold Forum on Defending Human Rights

ATLANTA — Dozens of activists, peacemakers, and community leaders from 28 countries will come together Oct. 12-15 for the Carter Center’s 12th Human Rights Defenders Forum, which this year focuses on “Building Solidarity toward Equality for All.”

Session topics include global protection for activists, challenges for women defenders and peacemakers, and the importance of mutually supporting civil, economic, political, and social rights.

Three sessions on Tuesday, Oct. 15, will be livestreamed on and Media are welcome to watch and report. In addition, media are invited to attend the day’s final session, from 3:50 p.m. to 5 p.m., which will also be livestreamed on the Carter Center’s Facebook page. This session will include a 15-minute Q&A with former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, during which press, audience members, and viewers may submit written questions related to human rights. Viewers can participate in the discussion using #BuildingSolidarity.

The forum also showcases the experiences of courageous women and men on the front lines of the fight for human rights, which this year include:

  • Hafida Benchehida, an Algerian senator since 2013 and a founding member of both the Algerian and Arab women parliamentarian networks. She is also a member of Mediterranean Women Mediators and a specialist in women’s roles in peace.
  • Mohna Ansari, a journalist-turned-attorney and a member of Nepal’s Human Rights Commission. Much of her work involves women’s rights, representation, and protection.
  • Ijam Alaz Augustine, minister for human rights and minorities affairs in Pakistan’s Lahore province, whose political career has been devoted to protecting the rights of religious minorities.
  • Fernando Carrillo Flórez, a former ambassador, minister of justice, and minister of the interior from Colombia who has published more than 14 books and 80 articles on democracy, governance, and reform of justice.
  • Maati Munjib, a journalist, professor, and president of Freedom Now, an organization devoted to protecting journalists and freedom of expression in Morocco. Because of his activism and writings, he faces a possible five years in prison. Amnesty International and other human rights groups have called for charges against him to be dropped.

Media interested in attending Tuesday’s session in person, or in interviewing any of the human rights defenders, should contact Soyia Ellison at by Friday, Oct. 11, in order to be cleared for attendance by the Secret Service.

Media are also invited to attend “Standing Strong Against Attacks on Human Rights,” a Conversation at the Carter Center featuring human rights defenders Hafida Benchehida, Memory Bandera, and Claudia Virginia Samayoa. The panel, which will be moderated by freelance journalist Kristi York Wooten, runs from 7-8:15 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 16.

Forum Agenda

*All sessions will be livestreamed on and*
Tuesday, Oct. 15
11:30 a.m. – 12:45 p.m. Remarks by President Carter
Summary of the previous days’ workshops
Testimonies by human rights defenders and moderated discussion
2:15 ̶ 3:15 p.m. Discussion: “How Do We Build True Solidarity in the Struggle for Equality?”
3:50 ̶ 5 p.m. Continued: Moderated discussion
Livestream Q&A with President Carter (4:35 to 4:50 p.m.)
Note: Schedule subject to change.

Contact: Soyia Ellison,


Waging Peace. Fighting Disease. Building Hope.
A not-for-profit, nongovernmental organization, The Carter Center has helped to improve life for people in over 80 countries by resolving conflicts; advancing democracy, human rights, and economic opportunity; preventing diseases; and improving mental health care. The Carter Center was founded in 1982 by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, in partnership with Emory University, to advance peace and health worldwide.