Secretary of State John Kerry Calls for Immediate Release of Syrian Human Rights Defender Razan Zaitouneh Who Will Receive Leadership Award at Vital Voices Gala, June 17th

Join Global Awareness Day Wednesday, June 18th to Release Kidnapped Syrian Activist, Razan Zaitouneh

Jun 13, 2014, 17:20 ET from Vital Voices Global Partnership

WASHINGTON, June 13, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- This morning at the Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative in London, hosted by British Foreign Secretary William Hague, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry announced a renewed effort to release kidnapped Syrian human rights activist, Razan Zaitouneh.

Secretary Kerry said: "Human rights defenders like abducted Syrian activist Razan Zeitouneh, are especially on our minds. Razan has risked her life inside Syria to care for political prisoners and call attention to human rights violations, including against women. We stand in awe of her leadership and heroism. And again today, I call for her release and the release of thousands of human rights defenders around the world. Their voices must not be silenced – their voices must be empowered." 

Vital Voices supports Secretary Kerry's plea to free Zaitouneh, her husband and two colleagues abducted with her on December 9, 2013, from their office at the Violations Documentation Center in Douma, a city near Damascus. Since that time, there has been no information on their status, health or whereabouts. And no organization has claimed responsibility for the kidnapping. 

Alyse Nelson, president and CEO of Vital Voices said: "Razan did not hesitate to risk her safety for her country and its people. She was determined to document the truth and honor those who have been tortured, killed and disappeared. Although abducted six months ago for speaking out, she will not be forgotten or silenced. We honor Razan for her courage and leadership; she reminds us of the power of a single voice and strengthens our resolve to defend those who speak for freedom and non-violence."

Rana Zaitouneh will receive the award on behalf of her sister at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, on Tuesday, June 17th when 2,500 honored guests will gather at the 13th Vital Voices Global Leadership Awards to recognize the impact of five women leaders: innovative social entrepreneurs, political representatives, human rights activists and civil society advocates who are creating sustainable change both globally and in their home countries.

Join Vital Voices on Wednesday June 18th in a global awareness day calling for the release of Zaitouneh along with her husband and colleagues. Learn more about Razan and her work, or follow #FreeRazan on social media.

Vital Voices Global Partnership is a leading non-governmental organization that identifies, invests in and brings visibility to remarkable women around the world by unleashing their leadership potential to transform lives and accelerate peace and prosperity in their communities. Founded by former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 1997, the organization trains and mentors women leaders as agents of transformative change in economic development, human rights and political participation. The Vital Voices Global Leadership Network includes more than 14,000 leaders representing 144 countries who have trained and mentored 500,000 additional women and girls in their communities. Visit to learn more.

Margaux Bergen
Vital Voices Global Partnership

SOURCE Vital Voices Global Partnership