Annual Symposium 2017

Defending Dissent: Civil Society and Human Rights in the Global Crackdown

Access the interactive Defending Dissent site

More than 200 participants from New York and around the globe came together for the Bernstein Institute for Human Rights annual conference, Defending Dissent: Human Rights and Civil Society in the Global Crackdown. Defending Dissent brought together leading human rights activists, lawyers, and scholars from India, China, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Russia, South Africa, Ethiopia, and Turkey to build solidarity and share strategies and tactics to safeguard crucial spaces for dissent.

The conference opened with a summary of the trends and tools used by governments to crackdown on dissent, and was followed by four panels spotlighting legal strategies encompassing national litigation, legal empowerment, network building, and leveraging the Internet as forms of resistance. The concluding panels served as responses to current challenges, with a discussion on the role of companies in protecting human rights defenders from surveillance and lessons to confront closure in the United States.

With a goal of building a living, interactive space where the lessons and stories shared by panelists and audience members remain accessible to all, the Bernstein Institute with the generous support of HELM Studio is thrilled to announce the launch of the Defending Dissent conference site. This groundbreaking site houses panel videos, speaker interviews and bios, conference program materials, and more! Step inside, explore, and learn strategies and tactics to defend dissent around the globe.