CONTACT: MELVIN O. SHAW
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0010; fax (319) 384-0024
Editor's note: Human rights activist Valentin Gefter will be available
to meet with members of the media at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 13 at the
Old Public Library, 307 E. College Street. Gefter will be accompanied by
Valentin Gefter, prominent Russian human rights advocate, lectures
at UI Oct. 12-13
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Valentin Gefter, renown for his dogged persistence
in negotiating the freedom for Russian dissidents and advancing human rights
in his native country, will present two lectures at the University of Iowa
Monday, Oct. 12 and Tuesday, Oct. 13 on the UI campus.
Gefter will present "Human Rights in Contemporary Russia,"
at 8 p.m. Monday, Oct. 12 at Room 225 of the Boyd Law Building; he will
present a second lecture, "Human Rights Violations in the CIS: Legacy
of the Soviet Heritage," at 4 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 13 at the same location.
Both lectures are free and are open to the public.
Gefter is the executive director of the Human Rights Institute in Moscow
and director of the Political Repression Program Unit of the Memorial Human
Rights Center (PRPU). PRPU is the leading human rights organization in
the Russian Federation and has been led by Gefter since 1996.
The PRPU offers assistance to people who have been arrested for political
reasons in the former Russian republics of Georgia, Moldova, the Central
Asian republics of Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, and Russia. The PRPU has
freed or bettered the lives of dissidents in these countries.
"The transition to a democratic regime (from a government rule)
is not an easy one. There are important issues to be discussed as Russia
moves toward democracy. Gefter leads two human rights organizations in
the former Soviet Union. He's a prominent actor in that area," says
Steve Hoch, director of the UI Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian
Human rights issues in Russia vanished with the collapse of the former
Soviet Union and human rights problems continue to exist and civil wars
continue in Armenia, Chechnya and Azerbaijan where ethnic groups suppress
smaller numbers of ethnic groups, Hoch says.
The lectures are co-sponsored by CREEES, the International Programs
department and the International Comparative Law program as part of Global
Focus: Human Rights '98, a year-long UI commemoration of the 50th anniversary
of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.