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Live Webcast: 2017 Human Rights Defenders Forum

  • Social justice advocate Lisa Parsons speaks at the 2016 Human Rights Defenders Forum, the theme of which was “Beyond Violence: Women Leading for Peaceful Societies.”

  • At the 2015 Human Rights Defenders Forum, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter enjoys a presentation by Afeefa Syeed, a senior adviser at the U.S. Agency for International Development, Middle East, and Asia bureaus.

  • Founder and president of The Voice of Libyan Women project — which pushes for inclusive peace processes and conflict mediation — Canadian-Libyan doctor Alaa Murabit participated in the 2015 forum at The Carter Center. (Photos: The Carter Center/ M. Schwarz)

"Freedom from Fear: Securing Rights in Challenging Times"

Join us for a live webcast of the Carter Center's annual Human Rights Defenders Forum, during which more than 70 activists, scholars, and community leaders will come together at the Center to discuss ways to protect human rights in an era of rising authoritarianism.

“Freedom from Fear: Securing Rights in Challenging Times” will shine a spotlight on some of the obstacles human rights defenders are facing as governments in many countries clamp down on public debate and activism. The forum also will showcase the experiences of the courageous women and men on the front lines of this fight.

In addition to the webcast, a special conversation on human rights between former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders will air on Facebook on Monday, May 8.

+Forum Participants Include

  • Hafsat Abiola, founder of the Kudirat Initiative for Democracy, is the daughter of Moshood Abiola, who was elected president of Nigeria in 1993 but died in detention before taking office under suspicious circumstances. Working with the government in Ogun State, she pioneered the use of cash grants to ensure access to care for poor pregnant women and helped develop special programs to address high youth unemployment.
  • Maryam Al-Khawaja, a special advisor on human rights in Bahrain for a number of nongovernmental organizations, played an instrumental role in the democratic protests that took place in Bahrain’s Pearl Roundabout in February 2011. Her father is currently in prison for his human rights work, and she is living in exile.
  • Rubina Bhatti, a founding member of Taangh Wasaib Organization in Pakistan, works to help train women’s groups to report on violence against women, support victims with counseling and legal aid, and initiate income-generation programs for women.
  • Maina Kiai, a Kenyan lawyer and human rights activist, just ended his time as the United Nations special rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association.
  • Musa Mahmodi, executive director of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission, has investigated human rights violation cases — including torture, war crimes, and disappearance cases — and developed an initiative to help protect human rights defenders.
  • Abeer Pamuk, regional officer with SOS Children’s Villages, is a member of the SOS communications teams in both Syrian and regional offices and has used her platform to highlight the plight of Syrian refugees.
  • Olga Zakharova, founder and director of Russia’s Freedom Files, is a human rights and environmental activist who has assisted persecuted human rights defenders in several countries and worked with various international organizations to develop a stronger response to attacks on freedom of expression.

Watch Live

An archive recording of this event can be found here.

Monday, May 8

1:30 - 2:45 p.m.
Welcome and opening remarks by President Carter and the former U.N. Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association

3:20 - 4:45 p.m.
“The New Normal: Mainstreaming Intolerance and Repression”

Tuesday, May 9

10 - 11:15 a.m.
“Building New Alliances to Address Root Causes,” plus remarks by Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström and Andrew Gilmour, representative of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights

11:40 a.m. - 12:40 p.m.
“Building New Alliances,” continued

2 - 3:15 p.m.
“From Fear to Solidarity and Hope: Need for New Alliances”

3:50 - 5 p.m.
Conclusions and Recommendations, featuring Q&A with President Carter

Join the Discussion

During the webcast, please follow us on Twitter @CarterCenter and join in the discussion with hashtag #FreedomFromFear.

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