Summit Hypocrisy

Summit Hypocrisy

June 10, 2012
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The Leon H. Sullivan Foundation has announced that Equatorial Guinea will host its biennial summit in August 2012, but it will take more than summit talks to improve President Obiang's human rights image.

Update: US News & World Report published an article on July 30 that questions the Leon H. Sullivan's decision to hold its Summit in Equatorial Guinea. 

The Leon H. Sullivan Foundation has announced that Equatorial Guinea will host its biennial summit in August 2012.

According to a press statement issued by the Leon H. Sullivan Foundation, “President Obiang as host of the 9th Leon H. Sullivan Summit will showcase to the international community the advancement Equatorial Guinea has made in human development and the human rights arena, which is a key focus of the Leon H. Sullivan Summit.” Former President John Kufuor of Ghana, the Summit Chairperson, stated, “I commend President Obiang in holding this Summit, as it will mark a precedent in fighting Human Rights abuses, which have marred Africa's image."

Ironically, the announcement came just three days after the government convicted and unjustly sentenced Dr. Wenceslao Mansogo Alo, a respected medical doctor and prominent defender of human rights for politically motivated reasons. Dr. Mansogo Alo received a presidential pardon on June 5. 

The regime of President Obiang of Equatorial Guinea, the world’s longest-serving leader, has a long record of failing to respect human rights, hindering press freedom, and thwarting participatory democracy. In Freedom House’s “2012 Freedom in the World” report, Equatorial Guinea received the lowest possible score, ranking among the ten “worst of the worst” countries for the fourth year in a row. The Committee to Protect Journalist’s also recently reported that Equatorial Guinea is the fifth most censored country in the world.

If the government of Equatorial Guinea is truly concerned about improving human rights, it needs to do more than host a summit that talks about it. Actions speak louder than rhetoric. 

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