with a well-attended Human Rights News Conference sponsored by Responsible for Equality And Liberty (REAL) at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. "
" 'Not only do we recognize our declaration in support of such universal human rights, but also we remember those who have denied them, including the totalitarian and supremacist nations and ideologies of the world that seek to continue to deny such universal rights today.' "
"In his opening remarks, REAL founder Jeffrey Imm called for US ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the end of violence against women as priorities in defending human rights. He also focused on the human rights challenges presented by religious supremacism. 'We really need a human rights dialogue on the challenges of religious supremacist threats to our universal human rights.' "
"In his presentation on the persecution of Pakistani Christians by the Muslim majority, Dr. Nazir Bhatti, of the Pakistan Christian Congress, explained that Pakistan's strict blasphemy laws allow the killing of religious minorities to go unchecked."
" 'Christians [in Pakistan] are in the process of genocide...The situation of human rights is worsening and persecution of Christians is at a rise in Pakistan.' "
"Bhatti warned that Pakistan will continue to breed terrorism unless the United States' government puts conditions on further aid to Pakistan that include the repeal of their blasphemy laws and an amendment to Article 2 of the Constitution of Pakistan, which declares Islam as the state religion of Pakistan."
"Following Bhatti's presentation, Dr. Ashraf Ramelah, President of the Voice of the Copts, remarked on the oppression of Egypt's Christians, particularly women and young girls."
" 'Coptic women and girls are targeted for a specific plan of forced Islamization in Egypt...the abduction of Coptic women is not just a passing phenomenon but is part of a widespread plan aimed to clean the Middle East of Christians.' "
"In addition to denouncing the forced conversion of Coptic women, Ramelah also called for a repeal of Article 2 of the Egyptian Constitution, which declares Islam as the state religion of Egypt."
"Though both Bhatti and Ramelah's remarks focused on the human rights abuses faced by religious minorities at the hand of Islam, Imm reminded the group, 'we do not attack or condemn Islam or all Muslims, but we do challenge all human beings to recognize that we face an Islamic supremacist challenge to human rights in the world today.' "
"The final speaker, Lisa Tao of Falun Dafa turned the conference's focus in a different direction. Giving a heartfelt presentation in her native language, Tao described the human rights abuses she faced as a young girl at the hands of the Chinese Communist Party."
" 'My father was tortured to death. I was called 'a child of the Five Black Categories.' My life was full of humiliation and I had to struggle for many years just to stay alive.' "
"Tao, who is now an American citizen, explained that she and her husband began practicing Falun Gong to help them heal from the torture they suffered in China. Tao's translator, 25-year old Pang Jin, relayed the recent arrest, torture, and prolonged detainment of her mother and aunt for their adherence to Falun Gong. "
" 'My aunt was abducted on July 9, 2009 and has been detained since then. On October 18, I was informed that the Weifang City district court, after delaying for a year, sentenced my Mom, Cao Junping, to 10 years.' "
"Tao then shared numerous examples of human rights violations by the Chinese government against Falun Gong practitioners and thanked Americans for their support and willingness to hear her story. "
" 'I feel that these practitioners are just like my brothers and sisters...We hope Americans, who are kind and righteous, will give a hand to rescue our brothers and sisters and stop this brutal persecution.' "
"Clearly, the 2009 Human Rights Day News Conference provided a forum for the discussion of human rights stories and perspectives not often covered by mainstream media. For more detailed information about The Human Rights Day News Conference, please contact the author at The Human Rights Blog. "