The report on the systematic torture of dissidents by state agents in Turkey has been turned into an animated film. Human Rights Solidarity (HRS) and London Advocacy (LA) have produced short animated films based on the report on the systematic torture of opposition groups in Turkey. One of the videos, posted on HRS’s YouTube channel, tells women being tortured, while the other shows men being tortured.
The report, entitled “Systematic torture and inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment in places of detention in Turkey”, was published last February and submitted to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in March. The report reveals the widespread use of torture by Turkish law enforcement since 15 July 2016, when the fundamental rights and freedoms of Turkish citizens were put on the back burner.
You can access the videos by clicking on the links below:
Many people have been wrongfully accused, imprisoned, or oppressed in many parts of the world. Let’s say hi to them.
Dear human rights volunteer,
As you know, there are people in many countries who are persecuted and whose rights have been violated. Many of them live in prison or are subjected to isolation. Some of these people are Muslims. We want to show them that they are not forgotten and make them feel that they are not alone during the holy month of Ramadan and the Eid that will be celebrated at the end. We also want to thank the Muslim rights defenders who see the violations of rights in various parts of the world, who do not want to remain silent about these violations, who stand up against these injustices with all their might, and we want to support them with our messages so that they can continue and know that we value their work.
We believe that it will be more meaningful and valuable to do this with the contributions of valuable people like you who are devoted to human rights. We ask you to shoot a short video message for one of the victims we have listed and send it to us.
We will share your messages on our charity website and social media accounts and deliver them to the victims and their relatives. Feeling that they are right and knowing that there is someone in some corner of the world who cares about them will be the best ‘Eid gift’ for them.
Thank you very much in advance for your support and contribution.
Points to be considered when shooting:
Shooting vertically. It is important to shoot with the phone or recorder vertically.
If possible, place the phone or recorder in a fixed place.
Adjusting the frame to take the shot from the waist up.
The light should be in the front rather than the back, i.e. there should be no glass or windows in the back.
It is better to shoot in a quiet environment, and it is better to speak a little loudly.
The length of the video you will shoot can be between 20 seconds and 1 minute.
PEOPLE TO WHOM YOU CAN VIDEO MESSAGE
Hawagul Tewekkul: Uyghur. 50 years old, imprisoned at internment camps, reason not known.
Tajigul Tahir: Uyghur. 60 years old, imprisoned at internment camps, sent to the camp because her son was suspected of having ‘strong religious leanings’ because he declined to drink or smoke.
Rahile Omer: Uyghur. 15 years old girl, the youngest person detained – she was 15 at the time, imprisoned at internment camps, reason not known.
Anihan Hamit: Uyghur. 73 years old, imprisoned at internment camps, reason not known.
Tursun Kadir: Uyghur. 58 years old, imprisoned at internment camps, was jailed for 16 years and 11 months for ‘growing a beard under the influence of religious extremism’.
Tursun Memetimin and Ashigul Tutghun: Uygur. Imprisoned at internment camps, reason: having listened to a banned lecture on someone else’s mobile phone six years earlier.
Ahmadreza Djalali: An Iranian-Swedish researcher and lecturer who was arrested in Iran in 2016 and sentenced to death on charges of espionage.
Narges Mohammadi: An Iranian human rights activist and journalist who was arrested in 2015 and sentenced to 16 years in prison for her work with the Centre for Human Rights Defenders.
Raif Badawi: A jailed Saudi Arabian blogger and Ensaf Haidar who has been campaigning for her husband’s release and advocating for human rights in Saudi Arabia.
Waleed Abu al-Khair: A Saudi Arabian human rights lawyer who was arrested in 2014 and sentenced to 15 years in prison for his work on human rights issues in Saudi Arabia.
Amal Fathy: An Egyptian human rights defender and feminist who was arrested in 2018 and sentenced to two years in prison on charges of spreading false news and insulting the state.
Nuriye Gülmen: A Turkish teacher and human rights defender who was arrested in 2017 and charged with membership in a terrorist organization.
Semih Özakça: A Turkish teacher and human rights defender who was arrested in 2017 and charged with membership in a terrorist organization.
Veli Acu: A Turkish human rights defender who was arrested in 2016 and charged with membership in a terrorist organization
Hidayet Karaca: A Turkish media executive and businessman who was arrested in 2014 and charged with being a member of the Gülen movement.
Ali Ünal: Turkey. Zaman news columnist.
Ali Ahmet Böken: Turkey. Former TRT News Coordinator
Mehmet Baransu: Kurdish journalist and author from
Sharjeel Imam: Indian activist languishes in jail for a speech.
Umar Khalid: An Indian activist, arrested for exercising his right to free speech.
Humaira Yusuf: Afghan human rights defender, arrested in Afghanistan.
Khurram Parvez: Kashmiri rights activist, jailed by India.
Haleema Saroor: For thirteen years I worked on various projects aimed at uplifting the situation of women in Helmand, Afghanistan.
Sara Seerat: Afghan, lives in the UK. I am in charge of the Social and Cultural Institute of Women with a Mission, head the Association of Women Journalists, a Member of the Youth Parliament, and an Honorary Lecturer at the University of Al-Biruni.
Marzia Rustami: As the Manager of the Afghan Women’s Network in Kunduz, my work on women’s rights is multi-faceted but I focus a lot on the capacity building projects I conduct to empower women. Along with other human rights defenders in the area, I promote women’s rights and social justice, encourage women on political participation and engage in local government, and to work on key, decision making positions in the government and private organisations.
Aqila Nawrozi: As a human rights defender, I have worked in various roles to support women in Daikundi. As a focal point of Afghan Women Network, I tried to lobby for improving the status of women in Daikundi coordinating with governmental and non-governmental organizations. I also worked as a deputy of Social Council, deputy of the Development Council Secretary of the Advisory Board of Neli, an Organisation that works with the Municipality.
Zarqa Yaftali: Afghan, lives in the UK. I’m the Director of the Women and Children Legal Research Foundation. I have more than 12 years of experience working as a Women and Children’s Rights Defender and am also a member of various national civil society organisations and advocacy committees, including the Board of Women Defenders Regional Network, and Secretariat of the Civil Society Joint Task Force.
Gul Makai Sultanzada: As a lawyer by profession, I have faced many challenges, including receiving written warnings from the Taliban and senior government officials because of my work on human rights. I fight battles with the Taliban almost every day and am known for resolving issues with them. I believe that 40% of human rights violations occur in Kandahar due to illiteracy and patriarchy.
Zahra Karamat: I am one of the few activists in Herat who has travelled to the farthest corners of the province, trying to engage with women and men who are not enjoying even their basic human rights. It’s a struggle to fight injustices and discrimination, but do I hope that we do not encounter challenges significant enough to push us back, and to continue with the work, to uplift the situation of women in Afghanistan.
Arzoo Nizam: I myself was a victim of several restrictions women in Afghanistan face when my family didn’t allow me to get a job. But today, in addition to being the Deputy Director of the Organization of Afghan Women Capacity and Knowledge, which works on women’s capacity building and elimination of violence against women, I’m also working as a defense attorney for the last ten years. I take special interest in individual cases, visit homes of women who are victims, speak to the men in their families and, at times with the help of the Directorate of Women’s Affairs, try to raise awareness on women’s rights and resolve disputes.
Maria Raheen: Afghan. I am the director of the Journalism and Mass Communication Unit at Balkh University. I also head a non-governmental organization that works on human rights. For 20 years, as a women’s rights activist, I have pushed to address issues that prevent women from accessing their rights, not only in Balkh but also in other neighbouring provinces such as Samangan, Jowzjan and Faryab.
Khawar Amiri: I am the Head of the Literacy Department of the Directorate of Education in Khost Province and have worked for many years as a mediator for women’s issues. As most women of Khost Province are illiterate, and some districts are yet to establish schools for girls, through the Literacy Department, I have conducted courses for women and girls above the age of 14 to enable their basic reading and writing skills. As a well-known human rights defender, I have worked in solving many of women’s issues through the Committee on Elimination of Violence against Women and tribal Jirgas (councils), with help of the police.
Kainat Ahmad: Afghan, lives in the UK. On the day Malala was shot by the Taliban in 2012, Kainat was sitting next to her on the bus and was also wounded by the blow. The two are still good friends to this day after surviving the attack. Refusing to let fear stop her, Kainat now studies in the UK and hopes to become a doctor. She is a firm believer in the power of education and urges young girls to continue their mission to get one.
Malala: Afghan, lives in the UK. She is currently one of the most powerful advocates for education in the world and has become the voice of the more than 60 million girls deprived of education worldwide.
Manal al-Sharif: Saudi Arabia. She has campaigned for women’s rights in Saudi Arabia for many years. In opposition to the country’s restrictions on women drivers, she filmed herself driving a car and uploaded it to YouTube and Facebook. The video marked the beginning of what is now known as the “Women2Drive” campaign.
Gulfisha Fatima: In prison, India. She is a student woman human rights Defender in India. She was actively involved in the women-led protest in Seelampur in North East Delhi against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). She works to raise awareness among local women about the CAA and is a strong voice for secular constitutional principles.
Sharjeel Imam: In prison, India. He is a human rights defender and student at the Jawarhalal Nehru University in India. The defender has been a vocal critic of the Citizenship Amendment Act and has been in the forefront of the protests against the sectarian and divisive Act.
Meeran Haider: He is a human rights defender and student at the Jamia Millia Islamia University. He is a a member of the Jamia Coordination Committee, which organized anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protests in Delhi in December 2019. On June 26, 2020, several UN experts called for the release of ur-Rehman and other protestors, saying that their arrests seem “clearly designed to send a chilling message…that criticism of government policies will not be tolerated.”
Shifa ur Rehman: He is a human rights defender and the President of the alumni association of Jamia Milia Islamia University. The defender has been a vocal critic of the Citizenship Amendment Act and has been in the forefront of the protests against the sectarian and divisive Act. On June 26, 2020, several UN experts called for the release of ur-Rehman and other protestors, saying that their arrests seem “clearly designed to send a chilling message… that criticism of government policies will not be tolerated.”
Ghassan Halaika: He is a Palestinian field researcher and human rights defender. His phone was hacked with NSO group’s Pegasus software and later he was arrested by the occupation forces, declared a terrorist for defending the rights of Palestinian children.
Ubai Al-Aboudi: Executive Director of Bisan Center for Research and Development and is a researcher in the field of socio-economic rights. He is also the editor-in-chief of Al-Taqadomi (the progressive) a pier reviewed journal on development in Arabic. Ubai has been arrested by both Israel and the Palestinian Authority on fabricated charges. He was subject to Pegasus spyware.
Tawakkol Karman: A Yemeni journalist, was the first woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize from the Arab world. Tawakkol is another amazing young woman who has persevered in the face of violence. She is known for her nonviolent work to secure the safety of women and her struggle for women’s rights in Yemen. During the beginnings of the Arab Spring, Tawakkol’s voice became a common sound over the loudspeaker in Yemen’s Change Square, where she urged Yemeni youth to stand up against human rights abuses. To many she is known as the “Mother of the Revolution.”
Shirin Ebadi: Iran. She was one of the first female judges in Iran and is known for her efforts to promote the rights of women, children, and political prisoners in the country. Although she was dismissed from her Chief Justice status during the Islamic Revolution, she clawed her way back to a position that could defend the rights of others. She became a lawyer, opened her own private practice, and established a campaign demanding an end to legal discrimination against women in Iranian LAW.
Hawa Abdi: This remarkable woman is known for running a hospital and refugee camp throughout Somalia’s long civil war, sheltering hundreds of thousands and saving many lives. When Islamic militants kidnapped her and ransacked her hospital, she managed to convince them to let her go and issue a written apology.
Safia El-Aaddam: She has campaigned against institutional racism and has written a novel.
Ayisha Siddhiqa: She is a Pakistani human rights and environmental advocate. She is the co-creator of the Fossil Free University and Polluters Out, which aims to educate climate acti̇vi̇sts.
Hajer Sharief: She is a peace and human rights activist from Libya. She has promoted the participation of women and youth in peacebuilding efforts in her country.
Chaimaa Boukharsa: She is a decolonial and feminist activist, with studies in Arabic and Islamic philology and cultural diversity. Boukharsa is also coordinator of the Afrocolectiva media outlet. It organizes various debates, podcasts, workshops and training on racism, migration, discrimination and feminist.
Masih Alinejad: She is an Iranian activist and journalist. Currently, she lives in exile in the United
Fatima Aatar: Morocco, lives in the USA. She is a Muslim feminist, political activist and anthropologist, the daughter of Moroccan
Originally planned for 5 June, the World Environment Day, this YouTube broadcast had to be delayed to 21 June due to technical issues. Despite late, we had an amazing YouTube live event with scientist Tierra Curry and climate activist Rob Callender to celebrate World Environment Day and once again reminded each other of the importance of our environment and treating it well. The particular theme of this broadcast was what the youth could do to spread awareness on the current climate crisis.
Holocaust Memorial Day is a national commemoration day in the United Kingdom, dedicated to remembering the Jews and other victims who suffered during the Holocaust, under the Nazi persecution. After first being held in 2001, it has been observed on January 27th every year since.
As Human Rights Solidarity’s Immigration Committee, we prepared a splendid program, consisting of interviews with Holocaust Survivors and Academics, Artworks, Musical Performances and Poems.
Sacha Kester is a survivor of the Holocaust from the 1940s, as well as a committed political activist for equal rights, justice and fairness. Sacha will be sharing his upsetting experiences and memories on our YouTube channel, as well as answering some of our questions. His daughter, Susanna Kester – a Creative Arts Therapist, workshop leader and volunteer for numerous community-based projects such as the Finchley Foodbank, Finchley Progressive Synagogue Social Action Committee and Generation2Generation – will also be joining us.
Generation2Generation is an organisation that helps the children and grandchildren of Holocaust survivors to tell their family stories. They promote and inspire tolerance and understanding in society through supporting these people so that their presentations to schools and community organisations are of high quality, historically accurate and have lasting impact. For more details, check out their website here: https://www.generation2generation.org.
Joanna Michlic, an Honorary Senior Research Associate at the UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies, is also joining us on this day to speak to us about ‘Lessons from the Holocaust for the Twenty First Century: Listening to the Voices of Jewish Child Survivors’. You can find out more about her research projects, past publications and awards on her UCL page: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/institute-of-ad.
Refugee Solidarity Week is a week of celebration of contribution of the immigrant communities to the UK society, launched by Human Rights Solidarity in 2020. It is celebrated within the framework of the Refugee Week, which houses the World Refugee Day (20 June). Refugee Solidarity Week is aimed at celebrating, empowering and inspiring refugees and their contribution to the UK and encouraging a better understanding between communities. Our programme for 2021 included art and music performances, poetry and film and book reviews. We also had an interview with Becky Dell from Citizens of the World Choir and Moses Saidler from Refugee Education UK.
Here are a volunteer’s words for their experiences at the Refugee Solidarity Week:
“Participating in the making of this programme as a refugee was an unforgettable experience. I hope we were able to motivate and encourage other refugees around the world as well. This event helped me develop my skills in hosting and video editing, participating in Human Rights Solidarity projects is always a great delight.”
What have we learned?
This experience gave us the chance to better develop our teamwork skills and allowed us to further expand our talents in arts, music and literature, letting us use them in means of activism and advocacy as well. It showed us that we, as refugees and volunteers, can have an impact on change using our skills and talents.
The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is observed every year by UNESCO on 21st of March. Human Rights Solidarity’s YAct Committee (Youth Action Committee) organized a YouTube panel for 2021’s theme; “Youth standing up against racism.” The YouTube live stream contained art performances as well as interviews with young activists and the public, encouraging and educating us all on the importance of this day.
Here are a volunteer’s words for their experience at the Day of The Elimination of Racial Discrimination Event:
“It was one of my first experiences in helping in a programme so big. We did it in the middle of the pandemic. So I believe it was empowering and motivating for us in the middle of such a crisis. Making a programme against something that I also do face was very nice and I hope it motivates all those who face racism to raise their voices as well.”
What have we learned?
We had the chance to learn more about this day and about the importance of racial equality through the research we made for this project. We improved our critical thinking skills as well as our technical skills on hosting and editing online events.
Human Rights Solidarity has been fighting for an equal and liveable future for the next generations. 8 March is the day that we celebrate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of all women around the world. 8 March is not only a day of celebration for us, but also a great day to talk about the challenges that women have been facing. On 8 March 2021, we interviewed 6 amazing women from different countries on YouTube. The main goal behind this was to see how women in different countries were affected by violence and abuse. Our speakers’ personal stories enlightened us and our audience on the value of the rights we have and on the importance of the human rights work we do.
Our amazing guest speakers list included:
Rita Edah: A psychotherapist, counsellor, and coach from the UK.
Mahbuba Jebin: A PhD holder journalist and self-defence teacher for victims of violence. Mahbuba is originally from Bangladesh and lives in the UK.
Gabriela Rondon: A lawyer and human rights activist at Anis – Institute of Bioethics, Human Rights and Gender from Brazil.
Louise Anne: A domestic abuse recovery coach from the UK.
Dilnaz Kerim: A 17-year-old Uyghur from East Turkestan. Dilnaz experienced the life of an Uyghur in China and knows what Uyghur women are going through right now. Grown up in Norway, she currently lives in the UK.
Sevgi Akarcesme: An exiled Turkish journalist and an ESL teacher who is currently living in the USA.
World Wildlife Day is celebrated annually on the 3rd of March in support of animals and plants across the world. The event was proposed by Thailand and was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly during its 68th meeting in 2013.
On the occasion of the World Wildlife Day, we celebrated forms of wild fauna and flora and tried to raise awareness on the benefits of their conservation. At the same time, we discussed the urgent need to step up the fight against wildlife crime and human-induced reduction of species, which have wide-ranging economic, environmental and social impacts.
We invited various guest speakers from different backgrounds sharing the same interest in our ecosystem and biodiversity.
Our guest speakers were:
Tierra Curry, Senior Scientist at Center for Biological Diversity
Finlay Pringle, Environmental campaigner at Ullapool Shark Ambassador
Erik Solheim, The Sixth UN Environment Executive Director and Undersecretary General of the United Nations
Marjan Verschragen, An ambassador at eXXpedition artist and environmental technician
Youth-led human rights activism has never been an easy task. Young human rights defenders faced multiple challenges in a more and more divided world, even before the global pandemic.
This year on the 9th of December we celebrated these brave young human rights defenders who showed resilience even in the darkest of times. We celebrated and applauded their heroism, successes and sacrifices for a better future for us all.
To show our appreciation of their work, we invited a diverse range of speakers from many different backgrounds and cultures throughout Europe to join us at our YouTuve Live event.
The event featured the following names:
Asiye Betül, a co-chair of YAct, the Youth Action Committee of the HRS.
Finlay Pringle, the 13 years old activist who has been involved in campaigning on conservation of the oceans and marine life. He is an activist with FFF. which stands for Fridays for Future… Also called Youth Strike for Climate, FFF is an international movement of school students striking on Fridays for climate.
Sara Nathan, a human rights activist working on Access to Accommodation for refugees and asylum seekers at her organization Refugees at Home.Sara is a broadcast journalist by background. She served in many public authorities before she became a co-founder of the Refugees At Home charity. Refugees at Home finds hosts in Britain for destitute asylum-seekers and refugees. She has since hosted refugees from many countries including Syria, Sudan, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Iran, Afghanistan and Egypt. Refugees at home have made over 1700 placements and hosted over 140,000 individual person nights.
Rumi Unal, an international relations graduate from Turkey. Rumi used to be a Turkish diplomat. He served in South Korea and Bulgaria. He was dismissed from his job during the mass dismissals after the Coup Attempt in Turkey. He is now the coordinator of Collectif DDH based in Paris. Collectif DDH is specialized in human rights violations in Turkey.
Xeni Dani from MOKA: Meet Over Culture and Arts. We love the idea of MOKA. Xeni was a child immigrant from Albania to Italy. As she grew up she dedicated herself to human rights. She has been working on cases of political persecution, torture and violations of freedom of expression.
Paola Gaffurini, an advocacy officer at the Open Dialogue Foundation. Open Dialogue Foundation has been active in post-Soviet countries and the European Union to help victims of grave human rights violations.
Antonia Kuhn, an aspiring lawyer from Germany. Antonia is active within the ranks of Amnesty International Germany/ and is coordinating the work of Amnesty International Germany on Brazil. Antonia was one of the two German Youth Delegates to the UN General Assembly in 2018. She has a long list of accomplishments in human rights activism which we are very excited to hear about.
Kadir Ertürk and Musa Obuz from the Solidarity Band. The Solidarity Band is the music group of the Human Rights Solidarity. Kadir and Musa performed two Turkish songs. The first one is Black Train, Kara Tren in Turkish. This is a sad song from the times of the First World War and it tells the hopes and despair of people waiting for a letter from the frontiers about their loved ones. The letters would come with the Black Train. So called because these steam trains would all be painted black. And occasionally bad news would arrive…
The second song was a more lively and celebratory one. Caney Caney… Originally a Kurdish song, Caney Caney complains about friends who show up only in good days and are lost when they are most needed
Mary Lawlor, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders.
Ali Dinçer, another Turkish diplomat who lost his job during the mass purge that followed the Coup Attempt of 2016. After leaving Turkey he became the Secretary General of the Belgium based Solidarity with OTHERS. The OTHERS is active on reporting and keeping databases of widespread human rights violations in Turkey.
Fiona Amony, a 24-year old activist from Uganda. Fiona joined Restless Development as a Volunteer on the Girls’ Advocacy Alliance (GAA) project. She advocated for workplaces free from sexual harassment. Throughout the pandemic, she has been voluntarily running a helpline.
Bethany Holden, the founder of RefuNet which is connecting refugees and volunteers who would like to teach them English. We spoke with Bethany on how language education helps refugees realize their rights and perhaps make them feel more integrated and free.
Shila Block and Tash Thomass, to gender equality activists. Shila Block on the human rights of women in conflict areas. In 2018 she was a youth delegate to the CSW (Conference on Women’s rights at the UN). Today she is a part of the National Youth activist of UN Women’s Generation Equality Forum.
And Tash is an LGBTQ activist from the United Kingdom. She is the Director of Diversity, Equality & Inclusion at European Coworking Assembly.
Amirah Hussein, a masters student at LSR in human rights and politics. Amirah used to be the President of the Amnesty International Society in the University of Nottingham, while doing her BA. She is commenting on human rights and student life in her Instagram account.
Nuray Düzenli of the European Institute for Sustainable Development.
Our last speaker was the Co-Chair of the Human Rights Solidarity, Merve Aslangoren. Merve is a law student from Coventry University, UK. She is a member of the founding cohort of the Human Rights Solidarity.
Virus on Freedom of Expression: Press Freedom in three Not-Free Countries Before, During and After the Covid-19 Pandemic: China, Turkey and Russia
DATE: 18 August 2020
COMMITTEE: FreeWord Committee
On 18 August 2020, the FreeWord Committee of the Human Rights Solidarity hosted a series of panels on the situation of freedom of expression in three countries deemed as NOT FREE by Freedom House: China, Turkey and Russia. Hold under the Covid-19 Pandemic, the panels also looked at how the Pandemic did and would worsen the situation in these countries.
Already before the Pandemic the three countries in our radar had the worst press freedom reports in the world, with China and Turkey competing with each other by means of the number of journalists jailed every year, and Russia surpassing all nightmares with 58 journalists killed and seven gone missing only in 2019.
When Covid-19 hit the world, idealist-futurists hoped that the pandemic would open our eyes to the sufferings of others and teach us a valuable lesson of empathy. Unfortunately, expectations proved wrong when countries started to close their borders.
Just within a few weeks’ time, COVID-19 had radically transformed us, the society, and our governments. With its call for strict tracking mechanisms and limited freedom of movement, Covid-19 was now threatening the future of liberal democracies and their very values.
However, a greater challenge that remains is how the authoritarian governments of China, Turkey and Russia use this pandemic as a leverage to spread their own propaganda of their so-called success in controlling the infection. Starting from the authoritarian countries, executive branches of governments all over the world asked for further powers of controlling mobility of people and goods. Unfortunately, history proves that the powers attained at times of emergencies tend to become the new normalcies.
Our panellists discussed, not only the past and future of the freedom of press in these countries, but also alternative solutions peoples of these countries are innovating.
The webinar started with the keynote speech of Jeremy Dear, the Deputy General Secretary of the International Federation of Journalists for 10 years. Jeremy worked for 25 years as a freelance journalist in the UK and Latin America covering human rights and freedom of expression issues. Jeremy has written for The Guardian and New Statesman among others. His keynote speech can be watched here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x9LasgLSAGs
Dr James Rodgers is a Reader in International Journalism, responsible for the MA International Journalism at the City University of London. James was a journalist for twenty years. He spent fifteen years at the BBC, completing correspondent postings in Moscow, Brussels, and Gaza, as well as many other assignments. His particular areas of interest in international journalism are Russia and the former Soviet Union, and the Middle East. His presentation can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iXo7vtotwhc
Our second speaker on Russia was Gulnoza Said. Gulnoza is a journalist and communications professional with over 15 years of experience in New York, Prague, Bratislava, and Tashkent. She has covered issues including politics, media, religion, and human rights with a focus on Central Asia, Russia, and Turkey. Gulnoza Said is the Europe and Central Asia program coordinator in Committee to Protect Journalists. Her presentation can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Hk-LCHuvjw
The third speaker of the Russia Session was Sofya Orlosky, a senior program manager of Eurasia at Freedom House. Prior to joining Freedom House Sofya was based in Moscow, with various local Russian NGOs and later with the National Democratic Institute for International Relations, designing and conducting immersion training for civic activists, local government officials and political party members on various aspects of civic engagement and political participation. Sofya’s presentation is available here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_G9IITpCn9M
The first speaker of the Turkey Session was Yavuz Baydar, an award-winning journalist and the Editor-in-Chief of Ahvalnew.com. Ahval has become one of the few breathing places of the independent Turkish media. It is published in English, Turkish and Arabic. Ahval’s podcasts are some of the most listened podcasts about Turkey. Baydar blogged with the Huffington Post and Al Jazeera, sharing his analysis and views on Turkish politics, the Middle East, Balkans, Europe, U.S-Turkish relations, human rights, free speech, press freedom and history. Baydar’s presentation can be watched here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K3rvvPXIYKI
The second speaker of the Turkey Panel was Julie Carolyn Ward, a British Labour Party politician who served as a Member of the European Parliament. During her term in the office, she supported several campaigns for freedom of the press in Turkey, including personally flying to Turkey and observing court cases of prominent journalists. In 2016 she was even arrested while flying to Diyarbakir to attend a conference. So she had the first-hand experience of issues of freedom of thought and expression in Turkey. Her speech is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VZviF610T34
Our third Turkey Session speaker was Abdullah Ayasun, a freelance journalist based in Washington DC. Abdullah has been contributing to Huffington Post, the Globe Post, Irish Times and appeared at CNN and BBC on occasions. He writes on American political affairs, Turkey, the Middle East, and beyond. His presentation can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0WEBkT79u-Y
In the China Session, we will be listening to four speakers: Melissa Chen, Jemimah Steinfeld, Megha Rajagopalan and Evan Fowler. The whole of the China Session can be watched here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kHB8f5S1RPo
The first speaker of our China Session was Melissa Chen, the Managing Director of the nonprofit organization “Ideas Beyond Borders”. Melissa is also the New York Editor of Spectator USA the American edition of the oldest English language magazine in publication. She is a human rights activist and a classical liberal who regularly talks on various podcasts, TV news, and at conferences. Her speech can be watched here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7f_QqQsCPMI
Our second speaker at the China Session was Jemimah Steinfeld, a journalist who has worked and lived in China. She has worked for the Global Times in Beijing. She also wrote freelance articles for CNN, Time Out and the Huffington Post on issues relating to China. She currently works at London’s Asia House in charge of their literature programme and is the Contributing Editor (China) for Index on Censorship magazine. Her presentation can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TfvfgIN97oM
Our third speaker at the China Session was Megha Rajagopalan, an award-winning international correspondent for BuzzFeed News. She has been a staff correspondent for BuzzFeed News based in China and Thailand as well as in Israel and the Palestinian territories, and before that, she was a political correspondent for Reuters in China. Rajagopalan was the first journalist to find and visit an internment camp for Uighur Muslims in China’s far west. She is a recognized expert on the subject of mass surveillance in authoritarian contexts. Megha’s presentation is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dro2vNMbqxo
Our last speaker at the China Session was Evan Fowler, an independent writer and researcher focusing on Hong Kong and China. He is co-founder and director of Hong Kong Free Press and a director of Stand News. He was also the China representative for the Kennedy Center for Human Rights. Evan’s presentation is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oJOaSFP7kSY
Closing the Event
This half day event was finally closed by the closing remarks of Merve Aslangoren, the Co-Chair of Human Rights Solidarity. Merve is a law student at Coventry University. Her closing remarks can be watched here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZRH3UlDK2A8