14th Annual Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy, Highlights Oppression by China in Tibet and Other Regions

Geneva, Wednesday, 6th April 2022: 14th Geneva Summit was taken place in CICG (The international conference centre Geneva) Political dissidents, representatives of current political prisoners and freedom activists gathered in Geneva, a global hub for diplomacy and human rights, for the 14th edition of the Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy, on 06 April 2022. The summit shone the global spotlight on countries with deplorable human rights records in order to put them on the international agenda to do more in defence of freedom and human rights. The rights record of China and regions under its oppression are deliberated, among other authoritarian regimes, at the summit.

A dedicated summit segment on China titled “The Struggle for Human Rights in China” featured Tibetan poet and freedom activist Tenzin Tsundue; Founder of Campaign for Uyghurs, sister of a political prisoner in China Rushan Abbas and Policy Advisor at Hong Kong Watch, Advisor to Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China Joey Siu. The panel was moderated by the Founder and CEO of Arise, an anti-slavery charity, Luke de Pulford.

Swiss-Tibetan Women Association, one of the partner NGOs of the Geneva Summit, facilitated Tibetan activist,writer and Poet,Mr.Tenzin Tsundue to speak at the Summit.

Speaking at the summit, Mr.Tenzin Tsundue moved the audience by sharing his journey and jail experience in Tibet- blindfolded, beaten, tortured, denied food and sleep in order to “break the person”; highlighted how the Tibetan Buddhist and cultural upbringing had given him inner strength and said “the real force is not the one who is torturing from outside”, instead of empowering oneself for the higher purpose of life is the “real force”, said Tsundue at the summit. Empowerment does not come from “hatred, anger and desire for revenge”, in fact, sympathise with the enemy who is undergoing a period of weakness, Tenzin Tsundue appealed. “There is another way, it does not have to be like this- hating each other”, added Tsundue.

Highlighting the historical facts of Tibet, Tsundue said, just after the second world war; the beginning of the United Nations and the period of history when most of the nations were beginning to become free and independent, that was the time China invaded Tibet, killing thousands of Tibetan people. But internationally, most people were not aware, and those who knew Tibet sided with China. Today, 9.6 million square kilometers of land is made by putting together Tibet, East Turkestan, Manchuria and Southern Mongolia. Sixty per cent of today’s China landmass is occupied countries, explained Tenzin Tsundue.

Expressing his concern over Chinese people who are persecuted and suppressed by their own government, Tenzin Tsundue said “I am not worried about the Tibetan people; I am worried over Chinese who are under their own dictatorial government, who are suffering”. Despite China being the biggest authoritarian regime in the world with 1.4 billion populations, Tenzin Tsundue expressed his dismay over governments internationally supporting China and placing business interests above everything. There has to be another way, it cannot go on like this- dictators supporting dictators and speaking peace at the United Nations but internally working only to suppress more human beings”, lamented Tsundue. Solidarity amongst human rights defenders and freedom activists is the way forward, Tsundue told the audience. “We will be free and independent and I believe this. Peace will once again rise.”

Tenzin Tsundue is scheduled to undertake Tibet advocacy tours in other parts of Europe. Leaving Switzerland on 10th April .Sweden 11-17, Norway 18-20, Denmark 20-22, Spain 23-25, and the Czech Republic 26-29, before returning to Delhi on April 29th.2022.

This year, the 25 human rights groups that co-sponsor the Geneva Summit have chosen to recognize the outstanding contributions of Mr. Enes Kanter Freedom,NBA basketball player and human rights activist

With 2022 Courage Award

Mr.Enes Kanter Freedom is a former NBA player and champion of human rights who has been outspoken on rights abuses happening across the world, and specifically on the abuses in East Turkistan, Tibet, Hong Kong and mainland China. He has been a strong voice in the world of sports.

“His work and the work of human rights defenders around the world are essential for our collective efforts to sustain peace, and ensure accountability and respect for human rights for all.”“Often, this work comes at a high price. Some sacrifice their families, and others like Mr. Freedom sacrifice their career.” “We all have a responsibility to stand up in front of injustice, because the choices that we make today are going to have an impact on the future.”

In the current environment, when giant corporations and entities are being intimidated and silenced by authoritarian governments, such as China, Enes Kanter Freedom has decided to stand against this form of censorship and retaliation. It is truly inspiring to see an individual with great reach to use his platform to fight for justice and defend human values. And Mr. Freedom has done so with passion and pride.

Yet despite this, these courageous individuals remain committed to shining a light on the dark issues around the world, to give a voice to the voiceless. We all have a responsibility to stand up in front of injustice, because the choices that we make today are going to have an impact on the future. The international community is grateful for your efforts to promote and defend human rights for us all.

Activist basketball player dropped from the NBA for speaking out against human rights abuses worldwide.

A Turkish-American professional basketball player and an outspoken human rights activist Enes Kanter Freedom received the 2022 Geneva summit Courage Award in recognition of his outstanding contribution in defence of human rights, in particular, “heroic efforts to sound the alarm” about China’s brutal human rights abuses. Enes Kanter Freedom accepted the award on behalf of “all human rights defenders across the world”.

He commended : “I have been following the Geneva Summit for some years, and I have seen so many champions, so many heroes that inspires me.”“With the NBA I never won a championship, but I believe with my new team here, with my heroes we can definitely win a championship. All the dictators out there better be scared, because we’re going to crush them. “We are from different countries, different colors, different regions, but I feel like we need to unite and fight as one.”

Tibet was first topic to speak out following ten years of raising his voice against dictatorial situation in his home country Turkey. Shortly after adding his voice in support of Tibet, the Chinese authorities pulled off broadcasting Boston Celtics games in Chinese media which clearly exposed how much they (Chinese authorities) are scared off, said Freedom at the Summit.

Enes Kanter Freedom who sacrificed his professional career started to add his voice publicly in support of Tibet by wearing “Free Tibet” shoes. The NBA begged him to take the shoes off, said Enes Kanter Freedom at the Summit. Following his human rights activism, Enes Kanter Freedom  lost all contact with his teammate, whom we looked upon as his brothers and family, but he found “a new family”-human rights heroes, said Enes Kanter Freedom at the Summit.

Responding to media quires on his message to the Chinese government upon receiving the award, Enes Kanter Freedom said “What is happening in Tibet is cultural genocide; China needs to know Tibet Belongs to the Tibetan people”. The world will be free from war, if all the leaders listen to the “beautiful message” of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. His Holiness the Dalai Lama inspired him to “stand up for right, truth, freedom and human rights’ ‘, Enes Freedom responded to the media.

This year, the 25 human rights groups that co-sponsor the Geneva Summit have chosen to recognize the extraordinary accomplishments of Zarifa Ghafari.

With 2022 International Women’s Rights Award

Ms. Zarifa Ghafari at age 26 was appointed mayor of Maidan Shar, becoming one of the only female mayors in Afghan history, and the youngest.Ms. Ghafari faced death threats from the Taliban and ISIL, and survived three assassination attempts.”In 2019, the BBC listed Zarifa  Ghafari among the 100 most inspiring and influential women in the world. In 2020, she was named by the U.S. State Department as an International Woman of Courage.

Indeed, Ms. Zarifa Ghafari’s courage has inspired girls and women in her community and across the country. As a trail-blazer and door-opener for a new generation of young women, she helped empower the women of Afghanistan. She stands for the principle that women belong in the public square—in Afghanistan, and in every other country around the world.

When the Taliban took over the country in August, Zarifa Ghafari was forced to flee, with her husband, mother, and five sisters. Via Islamabad and Istanbul, she reached Germany, where she received asylum, and from where she now fights for human rights in Afghanistan, and around the world.

Nyima Arya

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