The fifth annual Oslo Freedom Forum is underway this week, and child marriage is among the human rights abuses being tackled at the international gathering in Norway’s capital.
Dozens of human rights advocates will speak about their causes during sessions on Tuesday and Wednesday, and those presentations will be live-streamed from the Freedom Forum’s website at http://www.oslofreedomforum.com. For the full schedule of speakers, go here. Here are a few of the speakers our followers might be most interested in, along with some information on when they’re presenting:
- Arzina Begum, a child marriage abolitionist from Bangladesh. When her parents tried to marry her off at 12, she sought help from a local children’s organization, which intervened on her behalf. She is now an honors student at the Government University College and works hard to promote education for girls and raise awareness of the negative consequences of child marriage. She is slated to speak around 10:15 a.m. (that’s 4:15 a.m. Eastern Standard Time) on Tuesday, May 14.
- Soraya Bahgat, an Egyptian-Finnish human rights activist who wanted to keep female protestors safe in Egypt. She founded the nonprofit Tahrir Bodyguard, whose volunteers patrol Tahrir Square during protests and intervene if they see any attacks on women. The group was formed after numerous sexual assaults were reported during protests in the square. Bahgat is speaking at 11:30 a.m. (5:30 a.m. EST) on Tuesday, during a session titled “Women Under Threat.” She will share the stage with Jenan Moussa, a journalist who has reported on crises in Libya, Mali and Syria; Lee Ann De Reus, a professor at Pennsylvania State University-Altoona and co-founder of Panzi Foundation USA, which raises awareness of human rights issues in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo; and Afua Hirsch, a journalist and lawyer who has worked in development in 18 West African countries. This panel discussion is open to questions via Twitter (using @OsloFF and #OsloFF) and via email at email@example.com.
- Too Young to Wed’s own Stephanie Sinclair, a VII photographer who has documented sensitive human rights and gender issues around the globe. Her session, “The Power of Media,” begins at 2:45 p.m. (8:45 a.m. EST) on Tuesday, and she is slated to begin speaking around 3:30 p.m. (9:30 a.m. EST).
- Shakeela Ebrahimkhel, an Afghan investigative journalist who helped found the country’s only 24/7 news outlet. Her talk is scheduled to begin at 4:30 p.m. (10:30 a.m. EST) on Tuesday. That session features three other speakers, including Ambiga Sreenevasan, a Malaysian lawyer whose fight for women’s equality, religious tolerance and fair elections earned her the 2009 U.S. Secretary of State’s International Women of Courage Award.
These are only a few of the more than 30 artists, lawyers, journalists, economists, teachers, dissidents and policymakers who are slated to speak at the event about their efforts to promote free and open societies. You can follow all the action on Twitter (@OsloFF) or on the Oslo Freedom Forum’s Facebook page. In addition, if you search “Oslo Freedom Forum” on YouTube, you can watch several of the speakers from previous years.