Logo Human Rights Day 2012: My voice counts

Human Rights Day 2012 - Events in New York and Geneva


The High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, will chair an event in Geneva, which will highlight the Human Rights Day theme, Inclusion and the Right to Participate in Public Life.

The event will take place on Monday 10 December from 10:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in Room XX, the Human Rights and Alliance of Civilizations Room, of the Palais des Nations.

The event in Geneva will bring together a group of participants from different backgrounds to share their experiences and views on this year’s topic and to discuss how the fulfillment of the right is fundamental to the functioning of a democracy. Aung San Suu Kyi will deliver the keynote speech at the event.

Members of the diplomatic and UN community, civil society, the media, the general public and students from Geneva’s universities will attend the event, which will be broadcast live on the UN webcast (only holders of a valid UN badge will be allowed into the room).



President of the Human Rights Council and Permanent Representative of Uruguay to the United Nations Office at Geneva, H. E. Ms. Laura Dupuy Lasserre


United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms. Navi Pillay



Mr. Romel Joseph, Ms. Victoria Joseph, Ms. Ioana Lupaşcu and Mr. Tido Dejan


Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi, opposition member of the Myanmar Parliament and leader of the National League for Democracy


Mr. Jimmy Carter, Former U.S. President


Moderated by BBC Geneva correspondent, Ms. Imogen Foulkes
Ms. Navi Pillay
Ms. Souhayr Belhassen
Mr. Francis Kariuki
Mr. Valeriu Nicolae
Mr. Romel Joseph



Ms. Navi Pillay and Ms. Souhayr Belhassen


LAURA DUPUY LASSERRE is President of the Human Rights Council and Permanent Representative of Uruguay to the United Nations Office at Geneva. Prior to her appointment to Geneva, Ms. Dupuy Lasserre had been serving as Director of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in her country. As a career diplomat, she has worked at the Directorate of Environment and as the delegate of Uruguay to the United Nations Office and International Organizations at Geneva.

NAVI PILLAY has been the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights since September 2008. Ms. Pillay, a South African national, was the first woman to start a law practice in her home province of Natal in 1967. She defended anti-apartheid activists, exposing torture, and helping establish key rights for prisoners on Robben Island. Ms. Pillay is a former judge on the South African High Court, on the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, and on the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

AUNG SAN SUU KYI is Chair of the Rule of Law and Tranquility Committee of the Lower House of the Myanmar Parliament and leader of the opposition National League for Democracy. Ms. Suu Kyi, who is known globally for her campaign for democracy, has received numerous international awards such as the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991 and the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought in 1990. She has spent more than 15 years in detention, most of it under house arrest, and was released in November 2010.

SOUHAYR BELHASSEN, the President of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), is a Tunisian activist, journalist and writer who has covered human rights issues with an emphasis on women’s rights. Ms. Belhassen is a participant in a global context in public life, campaigning specifically for the rights of the excluded, especially women in Tunisia, but also through her mandate as President of the FIDH, notably in Iran, Bahrain, Belarus, Burma, Colombia, DR Congo, Iran, Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory.

FRANCIS KARIUKI is the administrative chief of the village of Lanet Umoja, Nakuru North District in Kenya. He uses Twitter as a tool for community policing, neighborhood watch and crime-reporting activities. Recognizing that most households have access to a mobile telephone, Mr. Kariuki uses texts and tweets to promote participation and inclusion in his neighborhood and to improve village life. Lanet Umoja is about 100 miles west of the capital, Nairobi.

VALERIU NICOLAE from Romania works with a number of organizations active in the field of social inclusion and human rights. He founded and leads the Policy Center for Roma and Minorities, a think tank based in Romania, and has been involved in grassroots initiatives in the ghettoes of Bucharest. Mr. Nicolae is a former director of the European Roma Information Office, and founder of the European Roma Grassroots Movement.


IMOGEN FOULKES has been the BBC’s Correspondent in Geneva since 2004 and has previously worked for Swiss Radio International and for Scottish Television. As part of her work, she has reported on a variety of humanitarian crises and post-conflict situations in Bosnia, Colombia, Haiti, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan and South Ossetia.


TIDO DEJAN, a Haitian musicologist, received a Master of Music at Temple University in Philadelphia and a PhD in Musicology from the Paris Sorbonne University. He has taught at universities in Freiburg, Stuttgart, Gent and Oldenburg. Mr. Dejan’s scholarly work has been published in Paris, Bucharest, Gent and London.

ROMEL JOSEPH, a legally blind Haitian musician since childhood, learned to play the drums, piano, and violin. He received a Bachelor’s degree at the Cincinnati College—Conservatory of Music and a Master’s degree at the Juilliard School of Music in New York, in violin performance. Mr. Joseph plays frequently as a soloist and worked as Music Director of the St. Vincent’s School for Handicapped Children in Haiti. During the 2010 earthquake, he was severely injured at the New Victorian School, which he had founded. After the tragedy, he created the Friends of Music Education for Haiti.

VICTORIA JOSEPH is a Haitian violinist and violist who started at the age of three with her father Romel Joseph. At seven, she became the youngest member of the Holy Trinity Philharmonic Orchestra in Port-au-Prince. She studied violin with Miriam Fried at Indiana University at Bloomington and viola at the University of Miami. Ms. Joseph is also executive assistant for the Walenstein Musical Organization and Friends of Music Education for Haiti.

IONA LUPAŞCU, a Romanian pianist, gave her first public performance at the age of 6. She graduated from the Music Conservatory in Bucharest and the Accademia Europea di Musica in Italy under Lazar Berman. She played concerts and recitals throughout Europe and made her debut at England’s London Proms. Hailed by the Italian press as a “warm, romantic, and energetic pianist” and “the new star of her generation”, she is since 2007 a state soloist at the Philharmonic Orchestra in Ploiesti, Romania.


For the event in New York, the participants will be individuals who have taken initiative or have been part of efforts or movements that promote inclusion and participation of marginalized groups in public life. Successes and challenges in the use of social media, technological tools and other creative means will be highlighted.   

Human Rights Day will be celebrated at different events in many other countries round the world.