Hundreds Gather in San Francisco to Tackle Pressing Human Rights Concerns; Migrant Rights, Aung San Suu Kyi Are Front and Center

Press Release
October 29, 2010

Hundreds Gather in San Francisco to Tackle Pressing Human Rights Concerns; Migrant Rights, Aung San Suu Kyi Are Front and Center

Amnesty International Press Release
For Immediate Release:
Friday, October 29, 2010

Hundreds Gather in San Francisco to Tackle Pressing Human Rights Concerns;
Migrant Rights, Aung San Suu Kyi Are Front and Center

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Amy Goodman, Jorge Bustamante, Rebiya Kadeer Headline Amnesty International Human Rights Conference, Nov. 5-7

Contact:  Wende Gozan Brown at 212-633-4247, wgozan@aiusa.org.

(San Francisco) – Amnesty International USA (AIUSA) will bring together hundreds of activists from 13 Western states November 5-7 for the organization’s annual regional conference.  This year’s theme, Shine A Light: 50 Years of Activism, highlights Amnesty International’s 50th anniversary – which will be celebrated in San Francisco in March 2011 -- and spotlights some of the most critical human rights issues today.  Open to the public, the event will take place at the University of California's Hastings College of Law on 200 McAllister Street. The cost of attendance ranges from $15 to $35, on a sliding scale. 

“For almost 50 years, Amnesty International members around the world have proven time and again the power of grassroots activism,” said Rini Chakraborty, western regional director for Amnesty International USA (AIUSA).  “San Francisco is a particularly poignant backdrop for this conference.  It is the birthplace of the U.N. Charter, which established human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without discrimination. Given the city's rich and vibrant activist history of fighting for civil, political, and economic rights, this is the right place to celebrate our 50th anniversary.”

The human rights conference, which features workshops, panel discussions and interactive exhibits, opens on Friday with a 5:00 p.m. march and rally in solidarity with the Burmese democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, and the Burmese people. The march, which precedes the Nov. 7 elections in Myanmar (formerly Burma), will begin on McAllister and Hyde Streets and end at steps of San Francisco City Hall.  Speakers include Toe Lwin, a youth leader for the National League for Democracy and a member of Aung San Suu Kyi's Security Team; Nyunt Than of the Burmese American Democratic Alliance; Yasmin Vanya of the Burmese American Women's Alliance and Maung Maung Latt, an exiled Minister of Parliament.  Amnesty International is calling for the immediate release of Aung San Suu Kyi and the other 2,000-plus prisoners jailed for peaceful activism. 

AIUSA Executive Director Larry Cox will open the conference at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday at Hastings College of Law, where he will highlight a half a century of successful human rights activism. Throughout Saturday activists will attend panels on a number of pressing human rights issues:  the death penalty in the U.S., maternal mortality, immigrant rights, Guantanamo and more.

At 4:15 p.m., a special plenary session, Somos Arizona:  Migrant Rights in the U.S, will feature Dr. Jorge Bustamante, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants, and Raquel Rubio-Goldsmith, coordinator of the Binational Migration Institute of Mexican American Studies at the University of Arizona, who will discuss the impact of the state’s draconian law, SB 1070.

On Sunday morning at 9:00 a.m., conference attendees will hear from Amy Goodman, host and executive producer of Democracy Now! and long-time human rights champion. Goodman will also sign copies of her book, Breaking the Sound Barrier, from 10-11 a.m.  At 11:45 a.m., the conference will wrap up with Rebiya Kadeer, a Uighur human rights activist and former Amnesty International “prisoner of conscience.”  Kadeer spent six years in a Chinese prison for criticizing the government's repression of the Uighur people and abuse of their human rights.  Amnesty International publicized her case and pursued her freedom until she was released in 2005.

Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 2.8 million supporters, activists and volunteers who campaign for universal human rights from more than 150 countries. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.

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