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Wakas To Bring Human Rights Torch Into Nelson


Wakas to bring Human Rights Torch into Nelson

Nelson, Thursday 27 December, 2007 -- Bearers of the Human Rights Torch are paddling into Tahunanui in a flotilla of eight wakas. They are hoping for something a little different for the holiday season this year - to shine a light for the millions of people being persecuted and tortured in China.

The Human Rights Torch is in Nelson today, as part of its nationwide, and global, tour carrying the message that "The Olympics and crimes against humanity cannot coexist in China".

The Global Human Rights Torch in Nelson

What: Waka arrival, Ceremony and Relay
When: 1pm at Tahunanui Beach, Nelson
2.30pm at ANZAC Park, Nelson

(full schedule at end of press release)

When China was awarded the Olympics in 2001, they promised the Olympic Committee, and the world, that their human rights would improve.

Amnesty International, Reporters Without Borders, Olympic Watch, and many other organisations say China's human rights violations have actually gotten worse.

The Human Rights Torch is in Nelson today to protect the Olympic Principles and the Spirit of Olympism, which talk about the "preservation of human dignity" , the "harmonious development of man" and "any form of discrimination...is incompatible with belonging to the Olympic Movement".

The Torch is on a global tour to help put an end to the massive human rights violations in China before the Beijing Games begin in August next year.

It is shining a light for the millions of Chinese people suffering under the communist regime, especially Falun Gong practitioners, the most severely persecuted people in China today.

The Human Rights Torch represents solidarity for Christians, Buddhists, and Tibetans who are persecuted. We want the Chinese regime to stop forced abortions, child labour, forced labour, brainwashing, torture, executions without trial, and the 1.5 million people who have been evicted to make way for the gleaming stadiums.

The Global Human Rights Torch Relay lit its first flame in Athens, Greece on August 9, 2007. It is now travelling through over 150 cities in 35 countries across Europe, Asia, North America and Australasia.

The Human Rights Torch was initiated by the Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong (CIPFG) - a group of more than 350 MPs, Senators, lawyers, doctors, athletes, and human rights defenders. The Coalition was formed in 2006 to investigate allegations of widespread, state-sanctioned organ harvesting of living Falun Gong practitioners.

The CIPFG believes you simply cannot have people being killed for their organs for huge profit in one part of Beijing and the world's greatest sporting event in another part of Beijing.

The Global Human Rights Torch Relay has been supported by hundreds of international government officials; past Olympic medalists; individuals and organisations from around the world.

The mistake of allowing Nazi Germany to host the 1936 Olympics must not be repeated in Beijing in 2008.
The CIPFG hopes this historic global event will help stop the persecution of innocent people in China and preserve the integrity of the Olympic spirit, thus helping to protect the dignity of all human beings, everywhere.

www.humanrightstorch.org

Human Rights Torch Relay - Nelson - Thurs 27 December

1:00pm Arrival and Ceremony - Torch arrives by waka and drummers at Tahunanui beach (Abel Tasman carpark end)

Speakers:

- Mike Ward (Green Party)
- Gary Clover (chairperson of Nelson Council of Churches)

Music provided by:

- Giro (South African drummers - 8 piece band)

1:20pm Relay along waterfront to ANZAC park (walking pace)
2:30pm ANZAC Park cnr Halifax and Haven Roads

Speakers:

- Kan Win (Representing the Burmese Community)
- Glen Law (Human Rights defender)
- Debby Verdonk (organiser of Festival of Opportunities, Human Rights activist and member of Amnesty International)

Music provided by:

- Giro (South African drummers - 8 piece band)
- Ruth Kenny (Flute player)

ENDS

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