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Field Notes: human rights defenders speak

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Date and time: Wednesday 10 November 2010, 12.30-1.30pm

Venue: NAB 1.15, New Academic Building, LSE. Click here for LSE maps and directions

Speakers: Leslie Lefkow, Sarah Leah Whitson, others to be announced

In this 10th annual 'Field notes' event, human rights defenders from Ethiopia and Iran discuss their experiences, accompanied by experts from Human Rights Watch.

Human Rights Watch is one of the world's leading independent organisations dedicated to defending and protecting human rights. By focusing international attention where human rights are violated, it gives voice to the oppressed and holds oppressors accountable for their crimes.

Each year Human Rights Watch honours international human rights defenders for their leadership, tenacity and courage to speak out in the face of repression. For their commitment in the defence of human rights, they are presented with Human Rights Watch's highest honour, The Alison des Forges Award for Extraordinary Activism.

This year in London two defenders from Ethiopia and Iran who have defied their governments and spoken up for human rights will receive the award during a tour of major European cities. They will be accompanied by senior staff members of Human Rights Watch.


The names of the human rights defenders from Ethiopia and Iran will be posted here by mid October.

Leslie Lefkow is senior researcher and Horn of Africa team leader for Human Rights Watch's Africa Division. She has specialised expertise in investigating abuses in armed conflict, humanitarian crises, Sudan and the Horn of Africa. She has conducted investigations for Human Rights Watch in Sudan, Côte d'Ivoire, Liberia, Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya. Before joining Human Rights Watch, she worked for humanitarian organizations in Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Sierra Leone. Leslie is a graduate of Columbia Law School and Bryn Mawr College.

Sarah Leah Whitson, director of Human Rights Watch's Middle East and North Africa division, is a general expert on Middle East and North Africa issues. She has led landmark investigations of human rights conditions in Libya and Saudi Arabia and numerous advocacy missions in the region, and overseen over 20 research missions and edited the resulting reports. She has published articles on the Middle East in international and regional publications. Prior to her work at Human Rights Watch, she conducted several human rights missions in region, including missions examining the impact of war and sanctions on the Iraqi civilian population, elections in Kurdish-controlled northern Iraq and human rights issues in southern Lebanon. Before joining Human Rights Watch, Whitson worked as an attorney in New York for Goldman, Sachs & Co. and Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton. She graduated from the University of California, Berkeley and Harvard Law School.

This event is open to all, free to attend with no booking or pre-registration required.
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