Bust of Cao Shunli in the making in the studio of Czech artist Marie Seborova (Prague, December 2023)


ISHR submits over 1,000 signatures for Cao Shunli memorial in Geneva

On Tuesday 16 April 2024, ISHR delivered to both Geneva’s Administrative Council and its legislative counterpart, the Municipal Council, physical copies of the more than 1000 signatures collected in support of a memorial honouring Chinese human rights defender Cao Shunli. 

A lawyer and human rights campaigner, Cao was detained by Chinese authorities at the Beijing Capital International Airport in September 2013, as she sought travel to Geneva to participate in a human rights training and to meetings with the United Nations (UN). She died six months later, on 14 March 2014, as a direct result of ill treatment and the denial of medical attention throughout her arbitrary detention.

Ahead of the tenth anniversary of her death, ISHR and 15 civil society partners planned to pay tribute to Cao and all human rights defenders that have been the subject of State reprisals by commissioning a bust in her likeness and initiating , in September 2023, the formal petition for its placement as a public monument in Geneva, the international capital of human rights.

Participating organisations unveiled the bust and the petition on 14 March 2024, ten years after Cao’s death, in a solemn tribute to her life’s work in front of the UN’s office in Geneva. The petition delivered this week gathered more than 1000 signatures in person and online. It calls on Geneva authorities to accept that the bust be made into a permanent memorial.

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