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6th Dublin Platform

14 - 16 September 2011

The Sixth Dublin Platform for Human Rights Defenders at Risk that was attended by 132 HRDs from 85 countries, between the 14th - 16th September 2012. Each Platform continues to be a very unique experience because of the rich diversity of the courageous and extraordinary human rights defenders in attendance.

The HRDs were joined by many representatives from international human rights organisations. Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi, Maina Kiai, the new UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Assembly and Association and Eamon Gilmore TD, Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs, gave inspiring keynote speeches. The meeting was also addressed by video by Margaret Sekaggya, UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders.

A panel discussion on the specific risks facing women human rights defenders (WHRDs) drew on expert presentations from: Lorena Cabnal (Guatemala), Julienne Lusenge (DRC), Samira Hamidi (Afghanistan) and Mary Y. Conteh (Sierra Leone). Mary Lawlor chaired a panel discussion involving Yuri Melini (Guatemala), Usman Hamid (Indonesia) and Isatou Touray (The Gambia) on Visibility, Recognition & Legitimacy; How to get it? How to keep it?'

A panel on regional mechanisms for the protection of HRDs included contributions from Santiago Canton, Executive Secretary, Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, H.E. Rafendi Djamin, Representative of Indonesia and Chairperson - ASEAN, Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) and Benjamin Moreau, Human Rights Advisor, OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights.

One of the key themes of the Platform was the importance of international solidarity between human rights defenders to achieve lasting change. In the spirit of that solidarity, the 132 human rights defenders and over 100 other guests took to the streets of Dublin to protest outside the Saudi Embassy. The demonstrators, led by Mary Lawlor, were calling on the Government of Saudi Arabia to use its influence with the King of Bahrain to secure the release of Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja and all other HRDs currently in detention in the Kingdom of Bahrain.

Throughout the conference there were digital security help desks operating in Arabic, English, French, Russian and Spanish and some HRDs took part in a pre-Platform digital security trainings.

The participants enjoyed a rich cultural programme with music from an array of musical talents, including Colm Ó Snodaigh, Ross Ó Snodaigh, Eoin Dillon and Seanan Brennan from Kila as well as Keith Donald from the Irish Music Rights Organisation (IMRO). The vibrant spirit emerging from the coming together of so many exceptional human rights defenders was vividly captured in the collective Irish dancing and wonderfully chaotic conga line at the finale event in the Old Jameson Distillery.