Today: Top Russian & North Korean Dissidents to
Appear at UN Rights Council, Win Awards
Garry Kasparov and Dong-hyuk Shin to Receive
UN Watch Prize at Geneva's Original League of Nations Hall
Geneva, June 4, 2013 - Former world chess champion Garry Kasparov, one of Russia's most prominent democracy dissidents, is in Geneva to receive a human rights prize tomorrow from the non-governmental human rights group UN Watch, and to address a United Nations press conference today, while the Human Rights Council holds a debate on urgent country situations. North Korean defector Shin Dong-hyuk will also be receiving an award from UN Watch.
"UN Watch has decided to grant the Morris B. Abram Human Rights Award to Garry Kasparov for his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in Russia," said executive director Hillel Neuer. "Mr. Kasparov is not only one of the world's smartest men, he is also among its bravest."
UN Watch's annual human rights prize is named after the famous U.S. civil rights lawyer, diplomat and United Nations delegate who founded the watchdog NGO in 1993. UN Watch is best known for organizing the annual Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy, a key gathering for dissidents, and for bringing victims to testify before the United Nations Human Rights Council, including from China, Cuba, Egypt, Libya, North Korea, Syria, Sudan and Venezuela.
Mr. Kasparov has been beaten and jailed by Russian authorities for daring to challenge president Vladimir Putin. Read more.
Escapee Dong-hyuk Shin
Dong-hyuk Shin, the only known surviving escapee from a North Korean total control zone prison camp, will receive UN Watch's 2013 Moral Courage Award, at a Geneva ceremony to be held in the original League of Nations Hall tomorrow, on June 5th.
The award will be presented at UN Watch's 20th anniversary gala dinner, where Kasparov and Shin will address ambassadors, NGO activists and UN officials.
UN Watch has helped organize meetings for Shin with UN human rights officials in Geneva.
UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer highlighted the importance of bringing victims to meet UN officials.In January, when UN human rights chief Navi Pillay called for a full-fledged international inquiry into “serious crimes” committed by North Korea, she referenced the case of Shin and having just met him.
“Shin Dong-hyuk isn’t just somebody who was sent to a concentration camp,” said CNN’s Anderson Cooper, who recently interviewed the North Korean survivor. “This is somebody who was born into a concentration camp. And for the majority of his life up until he was probably 22 or 23, he had no idea that there was another kind of way to exist.”
Shin told Cooper the stunning story of how he escaped from Camp 14, a brutal political prison in North Korea.
Shin was made to watch his mother and brother executed. Having been born and raised within the camp’s perverted moral universe, he was the one who had informed on their plan to escape. Read more.