Monday, May 9, 2011

2011 Oslo Freedom Forum Live Coverage Begins on Tuesday, May 10 at 9:15am CEST (3:15am EST)

Human Rights Summit Brings Nobel Laureates and Human Rights Defenders to Oslo, Norway

Oslo, Norway (May 9, 2011)—The 2011 Oslo Freedom Forum commences today in Norway, gathering an assembly of Nobel Laureates, world leaders, rights defenders, tech entrepreneurs, public intellectuals, and survivors of oppression, to bring global humanitarian issues to the world’s stage. The event has been described by The Economist as "a spectacular human rights festival…on its way to becoming the human-rights equivalent of the Davos economic forum."

"We created the Oslo Freedom Forum to establish a platform where human rights activists lacking international support and recognition could share ideas on a global scale with world leaders and others capable of affecting change," says Thor Halvorssen, founder of the Oslo Freedom Forum.

This morning the forum will be launched with a press conference with speakers, featuring Liberian peace activist Leymah Gbowee; Iranian Nobel Laureate Shirin Ebadi; Burmese rights activist Zoya Phan; Ghanaian economist George Ayittey; Palestinian doctor Izzeldin Abuelaish; Nobel Laureate Jody Williams; South African LGBTI rights activist Busi Kheswa; Bahraini activist Maryam al-Khawaja; and Canadian free speech champion John Ralston Saul. Also leading the discussion will be secretary-general of Amnesty International Norway John Peder Egænes.

Later this evening, Shirin Ebadi and Mayor of Oslo Fabian Stang will speak at the opening reception of the forum at Oslo City Hall. The audience will include hundreds of international guests from the realms of advocacy, business, academia, politics, media, and technology.

Watch live streaming video from oslofreedomforum at

This year’s forum will tap into the transformative power of social media to extend the reach of the event and its power to affect change. The 2011 conference will be live-streaming at, and video segments of all panel discussions and individual speaker presentations will be immediately archived and available on the website following the event. Online viewers are encouraged to interact with panelists during discussion sessions by emailing questions to or by following the forum on Twitter at @OsloFreedomFrm and using the hashtag #OFF2011.

The Oslo Freedom Forum is a program of the Human Rights Foundation, a New-York based nonprofit organization committed to defending human rights globally, with a special focus on the Americas. The forum is made possible in part by the City of Oslo, Color Line, Fritt Ord, the Norwegian Foreign Ministry, and the Thiel Foundation, in partnership with Amnesty International Norway, Civita, the Norwegian Helsinki Committee, and PLAN Norway. For more information on the forum and for a full list of participating speakers, please visit

HRF is an international nonpartisan organization devoted to defending human rights in the Americas. It centers its work on the twin concepts of freedom of self-determination and freedom from tyranny. These ideals include the belief that all human beings have the rights to speak freely, to associate with those of like mind, and to leave and enter their countries. Individuals in a free society must be accorded equal treatment and due process under law, and must have the opportunity to participate in the governments of their countries; HRF’s ideals likewise find expression in the conviction that all human beings have the right to be free from arbitrary detainment or exile and from interference and coercion in matters of conscience. HRF does not support nor condone violence. HRF’s International Council includes former prisoners of conscience Vladimir Bukovsky, Palden Gyatso, Václav Havel, Mutabar Tadjibaeva, Ramón J. Velásquez, Elie Wiesel, and Harry Wu.

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