International Effort Brings Attention to Gao Zhisheng’s Case

December 8, 2010

International Effort Brings Attention to Gao Zhisheng’s Case

OSLO. December 9, 2010/ — On International Human Rights Day this Friday, Dr. Liu Xiaobo will be awarded with the Nobel Peace Prize at a ceremony in Oslo. President of ChinaAid Bob Fu was given the honor of an invitation to attend the ceremony. Although many will travel from across the globe to attend the ceremony, the honored guest, Dr. Liu, will be continuing his 11-year prison sentence in a dark cell in China.

To coincide with these two major events, ChinaAid is mobilizing an international effort to continue to raise awareness about the plight of missing human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng, who was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2008 and 2010. Fu, in Oslo, will be joined by a number of European human rights activists, lawyers, leaders of nongovernmental organizations and citizens to deliver nearly 150,000 signatures to Chinese embassies and consulates around the world. He will also meet with Norwegian Parliament members and other world leaders to press for religious freedom and rule of law in China.

The following is a list of those who are either personally submitting the petition or helping to coordinate this international effort:

Amsterdam – Mona Zhimin Tang, or +32-14-708516; Willlem Amendt,
Auckland – Sandy Gallen,
Brasilia – Amanda Machado (contact Tracy Oliver, or 267-210-8278)
Brussels – Mona Zhimin Tang, or +32-14-708516; Dennis Barbion
Berlin – Zhang Jian,
London – Kiri Kankhwende, or +44 (0) 7823 329663; Matthew Price,
Los Angeles – Elizabeth Howland (contact Tracy Oliver, or 267-210-8278)
Mexico City – Linda Picard Moreno,; Linda Asesora,
Oslo – Lisa Winther, or +47 47416202
Paris – Nicolas Duval,
Chuncheon, South Korea – Judette Saintil (contact Tracy Oliver, or 267-210-8278)
Sydney – Rev. John Wilson and Ray Wadeley, or +61-406421552;
Tokyo – Cintron Crankfield (contact Tracy Oliver, or 267-210-8278)
Washington D.C. – Tara Plochocki (contact Tracy Oliver, or 267-210-8278)

Gao, not heard from since April 20, is believed to be in the hands of the Chinese government. The past few months have been hectic for his relatives. As they search for
answers, they are either met with opposition or silence.

This international effort is sure to bring worldwide attention to this case and strengthen the effort to free Gao Zhisheng.

“I applaud the decision of the Nobel Peace Committee for its right decision to award Dr. Liu Xiaobo for his brave advocacy for basic freedom for Chinese citizens,” said Fu, “but the fact that hundreds of thousands of human rights defenders like Gao Zhisheng, peaceful house church believers and other faithful as well as innocent petitioners are still suffering forced disappearance to imprisonment shows the international community should do more to hold the repressive Chinese government more accountable.”

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SEEMO Human Rights Award 2010 To Christo Komarnitski from Bulgaria

December 8, 2010

SEEMO Human Rights Award 2010 To Christo Komarnitski from Bulgaria

Vienna, 7 December 2010/Seemo– The South and East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO), a network of editors, media executives and leading journalists in South East and Central Europe and an affiliate of the International Press institute (IPI), is pleased to announce that after careful deliberation the SEEMO Jury – composed of SEEMO Board members – has awarded the “SEEMO Human Rights Award 2010” to Christo Komarnitski, a political cartoonist for the Bulgarian daily newspaper Sega (Now) and for weeklies Sofia echo and Starshel (Hornet).

Komarnitski was born on 30 May in 1964 in Gabrovo, a town in the central part of Bulgaria.

Since 1997, Komarnitski has been working as a political cartoonist for the Bulgarian daily newspaper Sega (Now) and for weeklies Sofia echo and Starshel (Hornet). Komarnitski contributes regularly to the Cagle Cartoons Syndicate and many other periodicals.

During his career, Komarnitski has won many national and international prizes, including: Grand Prix 2009 – Bulgaria, Citation for Excellence – Ranan Lurie Political Cartoon Award (2007), Promotion Prize – DONG-A-LG, Eorea (2007), Third prize – Solin, Croatia (2005), Second Prize – Golden Keg 2005, Presov, Slovakia (2005), Third Prize – Ranan Lurie Political Cartoon Award (2004), First Prize – Fano Italy (1996), Fifth Prize – Taejon Korea (1996), Grand Prize – Bjelovar Croatia (1994), Honourable Mentions – Trento Italy, Tokyo Japan, Istanbul Turkey, Tolentino Italy, Prize of the Jury – Kiev, Ukraine and others.

“Very often a human rights defender can say much more with a single picture or cartoon than with tones of words. Thank goodness, we are not facing wars because of cartoons, but right now some cartoons are more precious and more worthy than many diplomatic interventions,” said Milena Dimitrova, SEEMO Board Member. For Oliver Vujovic, SEEMO Secretary General “a good cartoonist is like a good journalist”, and “we should not forget that very often cartoonists are subjected to the same kind of pressure as journalists. SEEMO has, on a number of occasions in recent years, reacted in cases in South, East and Central Europe when local cartoonists have been pressured by the state or a religion organisation”.

The “SEEMO Human Rights Award” is an annual award dedicated to International Human Rights Day on 10 December. SEEMO has been presenting the Award since 2002.

In 2002, Christine von Kohl (died 2009), founder of the Vienna-based Balkan – ” Südosteuropäischer Dialog ” magazine, received the award. In 2003, the recipient was Nebojsa Popov, founder of the Belgrade-based magazine “Republika”. Fatos Lubonja, an Albanian author, received the award in 2004. Abdulhalim Dede, a journalist and member of the Turkish-Muslim minority living and working in Western Thrace, Greece, was the 2006 recipient. Seki Radoncic, from Montenegro, author of the book, ” The Fatal Freedom, ” and active in investigating war crimes in the former Yugoslavia, received the award in 2007. The award winner in 2008 was Spomenka Hribar, a Slovenian journalist, writer and human rights advocate. Pavol Demes, an internationally recognised NGO leader and the director of the Slovakia office of the German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF) was the award winner in 2009.