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Field Notes: human rights defenders speak

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  • Speakers: Sunila Abeysekera, Abd al-Rahman al-Lahim, Fred Abrahams and Sarah Leah Whitson
  • Chair: Margo Picken
  • Monday 10 November 2008

In this eighth 'Field notes' event, human rights defenders from Sri Lanka and Saudi Arabia discuss their experiences, accompanied by experts from Human Rights Watch.


Sunila_Credit 2007 Patricia Williams

Sunila Abeysekera is director of Sri Lankan human rights NGO, INFORM. Sunila has struggled against the entrenched culture of impunity to hold perpetrators accountable for enforced disappearances, killings of civilians, violence against women, and the widespread destruction of homes and civilian property.

Fred Abrahams is Senior Emergencies Researcher at Human Rights Watch.

Abd al-Rahman al-Lahim is one of very few practicing criminal lawyers in Saudi Arabia and as such he fights arbitrary and unfair court verdicts, and defends free speech and human rights activists.

Sarah Leah Whitson is Executive Director of Human Rights Watch's Middle East and North Africa Division.

Margo Picken has worked in the field of human rights for much of her professional career. Most recently, she worked for the United Nations as director of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Cambodia.