CubaBrief: Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy held opening session today. Cuban artist will be live streamed tomorrow.

Earlier today in the Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland the Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy held its opening session.

Center for a Free Cuba as one of 25 partner organizations, is proud to see Cuban dissidents at the start of the 14th annual gathering in Geneva, Switzerland. Over the past 14 years Cuban dissidents, and former political prisoners have spoken at the Geneva Summit.

Rosa Maria Payá Acevedo spoke today during the opening session in the Palais des Nations. Here is an excerpt posted by CubaDecide on YouTube.

Tomorrow Cuban artist and former political prisoner Hamlet Lavastida will be speaking on a panel at the Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy. The full program is available online and will be livestreamed.

#GenevaSummit2022 brings together diplomats, journalists, human rights defenders and students, spotlighting #HumanRights abuses by the world’s worst regimes

The following text is taken from a Twitter thread of the Geneva Summit providing highlights from the opening session.

During opening remarks, UN Watch’s Hillel Neuer spoke out about the violence taking place in Ukraine saying that he agrees with the United States in saying that: “The presence of Russia on the HRC is a farce and serves as a propaganda tool.”

Activist, Nazanin Boniandi, reiterates the call for an impartial mechanism to collect, analyze and consolidate the violations taking place in Iran, as “one thing is clear: the people of Iran are being denied their basic human rights.”

Zarifa Ghafari opened with a powerful moment of silence for the women who are suffering in Afghanistan.

Chief of Staff to Russian opposition leader & political prisoner Alexei Navalny, Leonid Volkov, called out Vladimir Putin’s perverted logic that he needs another “small victorious war” to improve his approval ratings.

Nicaraguan journalist, wife of opposition leader and political prisoner Félix Maradiaga, @bertavalle, continues to advocate for Nicaraguan political prisoners such as her husband despite being deemed a “traitor of the homeland.”

Zimbabwean journalist & filmmaker, @daddyhope, shared the reflections of a conversation with@HEBobiwine. He shared that it is a great pleasure to be here because it helps you know you aren’t insane, nor alone in fighting against dictatorships.

Activist, @AreejASadhan called on the world to speak up “louder and louder,” as “silence is more dangerous; our silence helps dictators and helps those in prison suffer greater.”

Ugandan opposition leader & 2021 presidential candidate @HEBobiwine asks the international community: “Please stop sponsoring our suffering. If that stops, that will be start of liberation of Uganda.”

NBA basketball player and human rights activist @EnesFreedom reminds us today that “being silent when you can speak up is a crime,” and reiterates that “we won’t be silent until our people will be free of oppression.”

Forcibly displaced civil society leader & advocate for war crimes tribunal against Putin @Aivazolja speaks out against the aggression in Ukraine and offers the following powerful reflection: “I believe that if evil is left unpunished it will keep growing.”

During her closing remarks, Cuban human rights activist & founder of Cuba Decide @RosaMariaPaya offers the comparison that the Cuban regime is the current equivalent to the Berlin Wall, and that the Cuban people need the help of the international community to tear it down.

Prior to concluding, the present relatives of political prisoners gathered together for a powerful photo-op.

The Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy will be live streamed tomorrow for the 14th time. Never heard of the Summit? Here is what this gathering is about:

The Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy is a major conference that shines a spotlight on urgent human rights situations that require global attention. It provides human rights heroes, activists and former political prisoners with a unique platform to testify about their personal struggles for democracy and freedom, while building an international community to take on dictatorships.

The Summit is held around the main annual session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, when foreign ministers gather in Geneva, to force critical issues onto the international agenda. The 14th Geneva Summit will be held on Wednesday, April 6, 2022, on the heels of the main session.

The event is attended by hundreds of dissidents, victims, diplomats, journalists, student leaders and other concerned citizens. Thousands more watch online.

The Geneva Summit is sponsored by a coalition of 25 human rights NGOs from around the world. It has been featured in media around the globe, including CNN, AFP, AP, DW, the Wall Street Journal and The Australian.

Over the past 14 years the Geneva Summit has provided a space for victims of repression from around the globe to shine a light on what is taking place in their respective countries and call attention to gross and systematic human rights violations.