International conference in honour of the laureate of the 2021 Václav Havel Human Rights Prize


The Covid Dilemma: Rights against Responsibilities (with a special event on the human rights crisis in Afghanistan)

The Covid-19 pandemic has brought about an unprecedented public health crisis, killing millions, infecting hundreds of millions, and affecting the whole of mankind. In parallel, it has brought into sharp relief the social dilemmas, inequalities and choices faced by mankind. Many of them relate to fundamental human rights that have constituted touchstones of modern liberal democracy. During the acute crisis, the rights of the individual increasingly came into conflict with the interests of society as a whole. The vast differences in access to effective vaccination between highly developed and developing countries threaten to exacerbate existing inequalities and lead to humanitarian crises in parts of the world. The resulting debate in the media and on social networks, which inevitably includes falsehoods, hoaxes, fake news and disinformation, raises new questions about possible limits to unbridled free expression and with it the specter of censorship. The above, and other, dilemmas illustrate the absence of a universally accepted framework for weighing our rights against our responsibilities. For some time, human rights and their definitions have evolved with scarce regard for the responsibilities involved. In Václav Havel, with his unassailable life-long record of fighting for human rights, we can also find a rigorous advocate of an inseparable relationship between rights and responsibilities. The Conference held on the occasion of the 2021 Václav Havel Human Rights Prize will provide a forum for the discussion of these pressing questions. While we are contemplating the human rights aspects of the Covid-19 pandemics, a full-scale human rights crisis that cannot be ignored, has been unfolding in Afghanistan. A special event reflecting as much as possible the situation on the ground at the time of the conference will be held with the participation of Czech and international experts.

12.30 – 13.00 Registration 
13.00 – 13.10 Conference Opening: Michael Žantovský 
13.10 – 13.20 Keynote Speech: Jared Genser
13.20 – 13.40 Interview with the 2021 Václav Havel Human Rights Prize laureate: Tatsiana Khomich, sister of the Laureate: Maria Kalesnikav / Chair: Michael Žantovský – Václav Havel Library
13.40 – 14.30 Panel I: Discussion with 2021 Václav Havel Human Rights Prize finalists: Tatsiana Khomich  sister of Maria Kalesnikava; Pierre Haski, the leader of the Reporters without Borders; Scholastique Rukuki, sister of Germain Rukuki / Chair: Tereza Engelová – Journalist and moderator
14.50 – 16.00 Panel II: The Covid Dilemma: Rights and Responsibilities: Jan Kysela, Petr Mikeš; Danuše Nerudová; Marek Orko Vácha / Lenka Zlámalová  
16.20 – 17.30 Panel III: Special event on the human rights crisis in Afghanistan: Fatima Rahimi; Václav Pecha; Jiří Přibáň; Tomáš Vlach Chair: Jakub Szántó  
17.15 – 17.20 Closing remarks: Karel Schwarzenberg 
17.20 – 17.25 Invitation to glass of wine and concert


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