The conference took place at CADAL’s headquarters and counted with the participation of many speakers such as Graciela Fernandez Meijide, Claudio Avruj, Marisa Braylan, Ariel Seidler, Gabriel (Gabor) Szasz, Kim Dong Nam, Hwang In Cheol, Kwon Eun Kyoung, Maria Werlau, Andrés Cañizález, Leandro Querido, Jianli Yang, Tutu Alicante and Günter Nooke.
Claudio Avruj, Secretary of Human Rights and Cultural diversity of Argentina, opened the conference, with a few words of welcome.
Graciela Fernandez Meijide, former Secretary of the National Commission on Enforced Disappearance of Persons (CONADEP) delivered a brave speech in the opening of the conference.
The first panel was entitled “Antisemitism: remnant of the past, stories of the present” and counted with the participation of Marisa Braylan, Ariel Seidler and Gabriel (Gabor) Szasz.
The second panel was moderated by Sybil Rhodes, Vice-president of CADAL, and focused on the cases of violation of human rights in North Korea and included the moving testimonies of Kim Dong Nam, Hwang In Cheol and Kwon Eun Kyoung.
During the third panel, a special attention was paid to the violations in terms of human rights in countries such as Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua thanks to the presentations made by Maria Werlau, Andres Cañizález and Leandro Querido, respectively.
The fourth panel, moderated by Hernan Alberro, Programs Director of CADAL, counted with the presentation by Jianli Yang where he denounced the violations of human rights in China while Tutu Alicante did the same with Equatorial Guinea.
Finally, the closing remarks to the 2016 edition of the conference on the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Totalitarianism were made by Günter Nooke.
The “Black Ribbon Day” was adopted by the European Parliament and then by Canada. This initiative was suggested by Vaclav Havel and other European leaders during the Prague’s Declaration on European Conscience and Communism, signed on June 3rd 2008. From that historical moment on, the August 23rd is considered the day to remember the signature of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, when the Soviet Union and the National Socialist Germany divided Eastern Europe to their own benefit. According to the former President of the European Parliament, the polish Jerzy Buzek, it was “the collusion of the worst forms of totalitarianism in the history of the humanity.”
Gabriel (Gabor) Szasz was born on the 29th of November 1930 in Budapest, Hungary. When Germany invaded Hungary on March 1944, some Germans officials presented themselves to his family’s tailorshop, situated in downtown Budapest, and declared that from now on they all had to work for them. Henceforth, his family home was “shared” with three other families. Once the ghetto constructed, the Szasz family moved to the tailor shop (October 1944) where they had to live with his maternal grandparents as well as other relatives and neighbors (more than 80 people).
In January 1945, a bomb was released in the tailor shop patio, making the whole building collapse. Hopefully, no one died for it had been weeks that they all lived in the basement. Once the war was ended, Gabriel carried on studying; he went to the Economical Sciences faculty, in the university Karl Marx where he studied economy for 4 years. Meanwhile, he met Maria, his future wife.
He was the head of the Economic Planification service, for a manufacture of heavy machinery until 1956, then in December of the same year, he crossed the frontier to Austria with Maria. He lived in Vienna where he succeeded in reunite with the rest of his family, through the traffic of stamps.
After a year in Vienna, he went with his wife to Argentina where the rest of his family already lived. He worked in the import/export of food products. He is the father of two daughters: Eva and Carolina (both of them are argentine) and the grandfather to 5 grandchildren.
Günter Nooke is a German politician for the CDU party and an activist for human rights. He started as a physicist and worked as a research assistant before becaming the head of the inspectorate of the industrial hygiene in Cottbus.
From 1987, he was a member of the opposition religious group and became more and more involved in the democratic movement of 1989. He was then elected member of the Parliament of the Brandensburg state where he presided the parliamentary bloc known as “Bündis 90”.
Günter played a considerable role in the investigation of the injustices committed during the RDA dictatorship. In 1996, he joined with other activists for civil rights, the CDU party. From 1998 to 2005, he was a member of the Federal Parliament and the deputy chairperson for the CDU block but also to different parliamentary commissions such as: “Issues of the new countries”, “Culture and the media”. He also was the spokesperson of the media and the culture for the parliamentary block CDU/CSU.
In 2006, Nook was nominated as the Commissioner for the human rights policies and the humanitarian assistance for the government of Angela Merkel. He was than replaced in 2010 by Markus Löning. In 2010, he became Chancellor Merkel’s Representative for Africa in the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).
Marisa Braylan is a lawyer for the UBA, a specialist in Public International Law (1995). She is part of the pedagogical formation of the teaching career of that same university. She’s also a professor invited by the faculty of Communication Science, Political Science and Sociology of the UBA. Marisa Braylan is the director of the Centre of Social Studies (CES) of the DAIA (the delegation of the Israel-Argentine associations) from 2006 to this day. She directed the research group for the “International Comparative Legislation. The Denial of Holocaust in Argentina”, a program of the Institutional accreditation of Investigation Projects in Law ( DeCyT) that was mutually organized by the DAIA and the UBA.
Ariel Seidler is a graduate in Political Science with a specialization in Public Policies and still finishing a master’s degree in Public Administration. He is the Director of Programs for the Jewish Latin-American Congress. He is in charge of the Web Observatory, a program meant to work against discrimination in the Internet and promoting a responsible use of the ICTs. Seidler is a member of the consultative board for the Platform for an Internet Free of Discrimination ( INADI). He’s the author of various publications and is frequently asked to give presentations about this particular topic.
Moreover, he is responsible for the publication of Coloquio and is the coordinator for Uruguay for the Nueva Generaciones program, both submitted by the Jewish Latino-American Congress. He worked for 6 years as a teacher in middle school and is committed to various social voluntary projects.
Kim Dong Nam escaped in May 2007 from North Korea and could join South Korea. In September 2015, during a side event to the 30th session of the Human Rights Council, co-organized by the ICNK, Human Rights Watch and other NGOs, Kim gave a powerful testimony of the disappearance of his son.
Since 25th of September 2008, his son, Kim Kyung Jae, who lived in Hoiryeon, a city situated in the north of Northern Korea and tried to escape from the dictatorship with the help of his father, has disappeared. After using all his contacts in North Korea, his father finally discovered that his son was imprisoned in a camp for political criminals. His son was treated as a political criminal for having allegedly communicated with some Christians missioners in China and for frequenting a church, which is a key element for being accused of political crimes in North Korea.
Hwang In Cheol. On the 11th of December 1969, when Hwang was 2 years-old, a domestic flight conducted by Korean Airline was hijacked by a north Korean spy. His father, Hwang Won was on board. During the month of February 1969, 39 of the 46 passengers, including 4 crew members, were repatriated to South Korea while 11 people from the same plane flight were still detained in North Korea. The north Korean authorities are still maintaining that the 11 hostages are willingly staying in North Korea. To this day, Hwang In Cheol does not have the slightest idea of where could his father be.
Kwon Eun Kyoung is ,since 2011, the General Secretary of the International Coalition to Stop Crimes Against Humanity in North Korea ( ICNK) and director to the Open North Korea. From 2014 and 2016, she was the director of the international affairs of Unification Media Group, a radio channel that is an NGO for the people of North Korea. Kwon also edited the English version of the Daily NK, an online newspaper dedicated to the north Korean issues and was also the correspondent in Washington DC.
Furthermore, Kwon worked with various organizations that dealt with human rights in North Korea such as Free NK Gulag or NKnet (Network for North Korean Democracy and Human Rights).
Jianli Yang is a Chinese dissident, President of Initiatives for China. He has a Ph.D in Mathematics from the University of California, Berkeley and also a Ph.D in Political economics from Harvard.
He witnessed the Tiananmen massacre in 1989 and as a consequence, escaped to the United States. In 2002, he went back to China in order to help the worker’s movement with non-violent strategies to fight. He was arrested and sentenced to 5 years of prison on the grounds of “espionage”. He was then released in 2007.
Jianli was one of the signatory of the Card 08, a manifesto made by Chinese intellectuals where they are demanding political reforms for China.
Tutu Alicante is the Executive Director of Equatorial Guinea Justice. Before founding EG Justice, Tutu worked as a legal advisor for international NGOs, promoting accountability and transparency in the extractive industry. In 2007, he received a grant from Echoing Green to launch EG Justice. Before that, he worked as a lawyer in the Legal Migration Service in the South where he represented the migrant farm workers.
Tutu has a Master’s Degree from Columbia Law School and a law degree from Tennessee University. He was born in Annobon, in Equatorial Guinea.
Maria Werlau is the President of the Free Society Project and the Executive Director of her project; Archivo Cuba that registers the abuses in terms of right to life and human exploitation in Cuba. She published various academic works in relation to Cuba regarding very different issues such as International Law, Economy, Foreign Investment, the US-Cuba Politics, Human Rights and many others.
Maria has a degree in International Relations from Georgetown University and another from the University of Chile. She has completed two courses in Transitional Justice, the most recent one in Barcelona, last June. She also was the Vice-President II of the Chase Manhattan Bank.
Andrés Cañizález is an academic advisor of the Center for the Opening and the Development of Latin America (CADAL). Coordinator of the program Communication Policy and Freedom of Expression of the Universidad Católica Andrés Bello (UCAB, Venezuela) and academic Coordinator of the program for advanced studies in freedom of expression in the same university. He writes regularly in the newspapers El Universal and Tal Cual.
Leandro Querido has a degree in Political Science (UBA) and is a university professor in the faculty of Political Science of the University of Buenos Aires (UBA). In his quality of specialist of the electoral systems of Latin America and the electoral Observatory, he has participated as an electoral observer in countries such as Argentina, Honduras, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru and Venezuela. Leandro is running the NGO Transparencia Electoral and the portal Noticias Electorales de America Latina. He is also a columnist in Radio Nacional.
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