NPWJ organises side event on “Silencing Dissent”

25 Jun, 2019 | Press Releases

Geneva, UNHRC, 41th Session, Palais des Nations, 25 June 2019

On the occasion of the 41th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, No Peace Without Justice convened a side Event on “Silencing Dissent”, which was held on Tuesday 25 June 2019 (from 10:00 – 11:30, Room XXV, Palais des Nations, United Nations Office in Geneva). The meeting was co-hosted by the Government of Canada.

Panelists of the meeting, moderated by Niccolò Figà-Talamanca, Secretary General No Peace Without Justice, included Hatice Cengiz, writer and fiancée of Jamal Khashoggi; Agnes Callamard, Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions at the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights; Abdullah Alaoudh, Senior fellow at Georgetown University and son of Salman Al-Awdah (via video link); Yumna Desai and Huda Mohammad, former detainees of Dhaban prison; Matthew Hedges, Scholar and former detainee.

Freedom of expression and freedom from torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, are essential building blocks of a democratic society. Suppression of dissent by any State power violates the freedom of its own citizens in a flagrant breach of international human rights. Equally, holding people in degrading and inhuman ways, and in the worst case, torturing them is unacceptable for any UN member state.

Hatice Cengiz, fiancée of murdered Washington Post editorialist Jamal Khashoggi and Abdullah Alaoudh, son of imprisoned cleric Salman Al-Awdah, Yumna Desai and Huda Mohammad, who were detainees in the notorious Dhaban in Saudi Arabia, in the same block as women “driving” activists and are direct witnesses to inhuman and degrading treatment, shared their own stories and their analysis of the efforts to eradicate dissent and political expression by murder, torture and ill-treatment and judicial persecution, including imposing lengthy prison sentences and threatening capital punishment against citizens who dare express even the mildest of dissent. Agnes Callamard, Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions at the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, presented relevant segments of her latest report, which was discussed at the Human Rights Council on the following day, including her findings on the Jamal Khashoggi murder and other extrajudicial executions aimed at silencing dissent. Matthew Hedges, the British scholar arrested detained and given a life sentence in the UAE presented concluding remarks.


Venue: United Nations Office in Geneva, Room XXV, Palais des Nations

Date and time: 25 June 2019, 10:00 – 11:30

For more information on the organisers, please contact Gamaliel Kan

For press and media enquiries, please contact Nikita Bernardi or Nicola Giovannini (Press & Public Affairs Coordinator) on