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Home » Resources » Terrorism, Counterterrorism, Secularism And Human Rights

Terrorism, Counterterrorism, Secularism And Human Rights

Publication Date: 
October, 2011

View the proceedings of this event, held by the CIHR (Center for International Human Rights at John Jay College) and the Centre for Secular Space on October 19th 2011.  Details of panellists below.

Part I:



Part II:


Welcoming Remarks: Professor George Andreopoulos, Director, CIHR

Moderator: Anissa Helie (Algeria/US)

Anissa is former Executive Director of Women Living Under Muslim Laws and an expert on the intersection of women’s human rights, civil wars, religious fundamentalisms, and sexuality.  She is a board member of the Urgent Action Fund and the Women’s Global Network for Reproductive Rights, and an advisory board member of the Centre for Secular Space.  She is an Assistant Professor of History at John Jay College.


Sunila Abeysekera

(Sri Lanka)Sunila is a leading global campaigner on women’s human rights particularly known for her work in Sri Lanka’s civil war.  She was the recipient of the UN Human Rights Award Prize in 1988, was Human Rights Watch’s Defender of the Year in 2007, and is Chairof the Urgent Action Fund.  She is currently a fellow at the Institute for Social Studies in the Hague and a member of the Centre for Secular Space advisory board.

Ariane Brunet (Canada)

Ariane was Coordinator of the Women’s Rights Programme at Rights and Democracy in Montreal.  She is a co-founder of the Urgent Action Fund and founder of the International Coalition for Women’s Human Rights in Conflict Situations.  She is currently working on projects on gender reparations in Northern Uganda and on women and civil society in Tunisia.  She is an advisory board member of the Centre for Secular Space.

Gita Sahgal (India/UK)

Gita is a prize-winning documentary film-maker, a member of Southall Black Sisters and a founding member of Women Against Fundamentalism. She was the first head of Amnesty International’s Gender Unit until they parted in 2010 due to “irreconciliabledifferences” over AI’s relationship with a salafi-jihadi defense group.  She is now founding director of the Centre for Secular Space, a new think tank based in London.

Meredith Tax (US)

Meredith is a novelist and historian who has been active in the US feminist movement since the late sixties.  She was a founder and chair of CARASA in New York and the International PEN Women’s Committee, and president of Women’s WORLD, a global free speech network of feminist writers. She is US director and head writer of the Centre for Secular Space.