Oslo Freedom Forum to bring together world leaders to honor human rights heroes
NEW YORK (March 13, 2009) — The Oslo Freedom Forum, taking place May 18-20 in Norway, will gather some of the world’s leading minds to celebrate heroic survivors of political oppression and persecution. The conference, hosted by the New York-based non-profit Human Rights Foundation (HRF), will showcase leading authors from the pantheon of literature of survival.
Participants include Elena Bonner and Vladimir Bukovsky, both of who braved years of Soviet brutality; Harry Wu, who endured 19 years in Chairman Mao’s Laogai; Buddhist monk Palden Gyatso, who spent 33 years in a Tibetan prison; Auschwitz survivor Elie Wiesel, who became a Nobel Laureate; Kurdish human rights activist Leyla Zana, who continues to fight for freedom of expression in Turkey; Kang Chol-Hwan, who was sent to prison by Kim Il Sung at the age of nine; Armando Valladares, who suffered 22 years in Fidel Castro’s political prisons; and Ramón José Velásquez, who was imprisoned by Venezuelan dictator Marcos Pérez Jiménez.
“This is an exceptional opportunity to learn first-hand from those who have inspired the human rights movement and to engage them in a meaningful and enlightening discussion about what motivated them to stand up to some of history’s gravest injustices,” said Thor Halvorssen, President of HRF. “Oslo will be the perfect venue to think about how the lessons of the past can help improve today’s human rights advocacy efforts.”
With a focus on civil and political rights, the summit will explore the memoirs written by these luminaries about their harrowing experiences. “Their work galvanized rights movements across the globe and exemplifies the resilience and nobility of the human spirit,” said Halvorssen.
Read more on: thehrf.org