Niober had been planning and looking forward to this trip for months. It took him almost two days to reach Havana international airport from his town in Guantanamo, Cuba, but he still arrived well before his flight. He'd budgeted in plenty of time, knowing security is tight and checkpoints are common across the island. At the airport, just before the final security line, an officer from the Ministry of Interior quietly took him to a side. The officer told Niober he could not board the plane.
On 27 September China will co-host with UN Women a “Global Leader's Meeting on Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment” in New York. Chinese President Xi Jinping will address the gathering, as will Secretary General of the UN, Ban Ki-moon. The event will mark 20 years since the Beijing Declaration and is intended to place 'gender equality, women's rights and women's empowerment at the centre of the global agenda'.
When I arrived at the 1995 Fourth World Conference on Women (FWCW) in Beijing, Chinese authorities welcomed hundreds of foreign dignitaries and international rights groups with rainbow coloured scarves. Yet, while China hosted what would come to be known as the pre-eminent gathering on gender equality for the next twenty years, the government was also systematically disempowering Tibetan women through its repressive policies towards the Tibetan Autonomous Region.
The following guest blog by Peace Brigades International volunteer Niamh Ni Bhriain, a former Frank Jennings Intern with Front Line Defenders, describes a visit to human rights defender David Ravelo Crespo in prison