ICHRRF conducts seminars and panel discussions on human rights and religious and philosophical freedoms in different areas of the world, as well as introductory talks on culture and tradition by elders from various communities. Typically, attendees can engage speakers in conversation or submit questions. Some of these events are internal to the organization and geared towards building partnerships, several are open to ICHRRF members (see membership options here), and some are open events.

Upcoming Events

Public Event - Speaking Up Series

Topic: USCIRF as an instrument of the US State Department

Speaker: Dr. Richard Benkin

Time: Fri, May 27, 2022 9pm10:30pm Eastern Time (US)

EventBrite Registration Link

Description: This lecture and discussion is part of ICHRRF's Ved P Nanda Fellowship for Human Rights. Dr. Richard Benkin will discuss the role of the USCIRF and its impact on the credibility of the Human Rights discourse today. Dr. Benkin is an American human rights activist, journalist, writer and lecturer, with a great deal of experience advising lawmakers and government agencies. For his work on Bangladesh, US Congressman Mark Kirk presented a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition to Benkin on May 22, 2005 at Benkin's synagogue. Benkin has also documented the present-day Hindu genocide happening in Bangladesh. In 2012, he published, A Quiet Case of Ethnic Cleansing: The Murder of Bangladesh's Hindus.

Past Events

Public Event - Speaking Up Series

Watch YouTube recording here.

Topic: Human Rights Violations of Minorities by Taliban in Afghanistan

Speaker: Dr. Anarkali Kaur Honaryar

Time: Sat, May 21, 2022 10am11:00am Eastern Time (US) (4pm Paris Time)

Description: Anarkali Kaur Honaryar is a medical doctor by profession and a Human Rights activist, starting her career in public life as a member of the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) in 2004. Pursuing her career as a women rights activist, for the past 10 years she was a senator representing the Hindu-Sikh minorities in Afghan Parliament. As a senator, she served as the head of the national economy commission, member of cultural affairs commission, and member of international relations commission. She was also selected as a member of the peace council representing the Afghan democratic government. Her work was recognized with many awards, notably the UNESCO prize for promotion of tolerance and non violence. She will speak on the plight of non-Muslim minorities under the Taliban regime.

Public Event - Hearing Report Release

Topic: ICHRRF Report Release: Bangladesh Hearing on Ongoing Ethnic Cleansing

Time: Sat, April 30, 2022 11am12:30pm Eastern Time (US)

Description: Bangladesh has made the headlines several times these past 7 years for large-scale riots and mob attacks on the country's minorities, particularly the dwindling Hindu minority. This is an escalation of a decades-long policy of holding minorities hostage, discriminating against them, driving them to flee the country, or killing, raping and converting them to Islam. A Human Rights Hearing on this burning topic was held in December 2021. This event releases the report compiled as a result of that Hearing along with all evidence submitted by witnesses, academics and activists.

Public Event - Hearing

Watch YouTube recording here.

Topic: Kashmiri Hindu Genocide, 1989-91

Witnesses: Testimonies by indigenous Hindus of Kashmir who faced persecution, mass murder and ethnic cleansing. Includes a number of prominent Kashmiri, Kashmiri-American and other intellectuals, community leaders and activists. The list is confidential until the Hearing.

Committee: Prof. Ved Nanda (Chair), Prof. Yashwant Pathak (Vice-Chair), Dr. Adityanjee (Member)

Time: Sun, March 27, 2022 10am12:30pm Eastern Time (US)

Description: The 1990's witnessed the 7th and final round of mass murder and ethnic cleansing of Kashmir's indigenous Hindu Pundit population in as many centuries of Middle Eastern Islamic invasion and colonialism. Today, the remaining Kashmiri Hindu survivors live in refugee camps in other parts of India, while a few have assimilated into mainstream Indian and Western societies, excelling in various fields. In the wake of the 2018 removal of laws that enabled discrimination, blackmail and Islamic terrorism, this genocide of Kashmiri Hindus is being denied, minimized or rationalized by certain sections of the international community. At such a time, it is important to document the tragedy to prevent any further distortion of history and salvage some justice. This Special Hearing by the International Commission for Human Rights and Religious Freedom ( will be an online public hearing and will lead to the publication of a full report. The Committee and team of observers comprises eminent legal experts, academics, and Human Rights activists.

Public Event - Symposium

Watch YouTube recording here.

Topic: Beijing Winter Olympics 2022 and Human Rights Violations by China

Speakers: Prof. Ved Nanda (professor of Law at the University of Denver), Ms Thinlay Chukki (Tibetan exile and Harvard-educated lawyer and advocate for Tibetan rights), Ms Rushan Abbas (exiled Uyghur and founder of Campaign for Uyghurs), Mr. Senge Sering (Pakistani exile and founder of the Gilgit-Baltistan Institute in Washington, DC), and Mr. Sonam Tsering (general secretary of the Tibetan Youth Congress in exile).

Time: Sat, February 19, 2022 10am11:30am Eastern Time (US)

Description: This symposium features presentations by international representatives of various groups facing cultural, political and physical persecution at the hands of the Chinese Communist Party regime. Most major democracies have diplomatically boycotted the Beijing Winter Olympics owing to the CCP's record of human rights violations at home as well as foreign aggression against most of its neighbors. This educational event allows the public to interactively inform themselves about the long-running suffering of large groups of people under the CCP regime and to ask questions.

Public Event - Speaking Up series

Watch YouTube recording here.

Topic: The Armenian Genocide and its continued denial by perpetrators

Speaker: Mr. Taniel Koushakjian

Time: Sun, January 23, 2022 10am11am Eastern Time (US)

Description: Taniel Koushakjian is a seasoned government affairs & strategic public relations professional who has worked with over a dozen clients in the corporate, non-profit, and political campaign world. He has 15 years of experience successfully advocating before local, state, and the federal government on a wide array of appropriations, taxes, transportation, immigration, human rights, U.S. national security and foreign policy issues. He is the Washington Representative of the Armenian Council of America, CEO of BreakThru Strategies, former Government Relations & Policy Director of the Hindu American Foundation, and the Founder and Editor of Taniel was recently named a "Top 21 in 21" lobbyist by The Advocacy Association, and a Trustee of the Chamber of Commerce of the Palm Beaches. He holds a B.A. in Political Science from Florida Atlantic University, a M.A. in Political Management and a Graduate Certificate in PACs from The George Washington University.

Public Event - Hearing

Watch YouTube recording here.

Topic: ICHRRF Hearing on Human Rights Violations in Bangladesh

Committee: A number of prominent Bangladeshi, Bangladeshi-American and American intellectuals, journalists and activists will testify online before a special committee:

Testimonies by: Dr. Richard Benkin, Mr. Utsav Chakraborti, Prof. Chandan Sarkar, Mr. Dipan Mitra, Ms. Aarti Agarwal, Prof. Dwijen Bhattacharjya.


Professor Ved Nanda, Chairperson

Professor Edward Butler: Vice-Chair

Dr. Adityanjee, Member

Special Rapporteur: Mr. Carl Clemens

Legal Counsel: Mr. Hardam Tripathi, Esq

Time: Sat, December 18, 2021 10am12:30pm Eastern Time (US)

Description: Bangladesh has made the headlines several times this year for large-scale riots and mob attacks on the country's minorities, particularly the dwindling Hindu minority. Rohingya Hindu refugees stranded in Bangladesh, almost completely ignored by the international media, are also being harassed, molested and denied assistance by locals and authorities alike. While ICHRRF has published a paper on the plight of Bangladesh's Hindu, Buddhist and Christian minorities as well as reports on the Hindu Rohingya (2017, 2020), international Human Rights bodies appear to have turned a blind eye to these victims or rationalized this upward trend in violence. In these circumstances, ICHRRF has prioritized a Human Rights Hearing to elicit further details and give voice to those who speak up at great personal risk. The public can witness the Hearing and may submit questions only to the Committee who may choose to ask the members testifying.

Public Event - Symposium

Watch YouTube recording here.

Topic: Indigenous Religious Traditions and a Polycentric Worldview


1. Dr. Adityanjee: Introduction and Moderator

2. Prof. Ved Nanda: Opening Comments

3. Prof. Edward Butler: Academic View-point on Polycentric Worldview and Indigenous Traditions

4. Prof. Yashwant Pathak: International Dimensions of Polycentricity and Indigenous Traditions

5. Carl Clemens: US Religious Scene and a PolyCentric Worldview

6. Elder Elizabeth Araujo: Mayan and Incan traditions and Latin American Perspective

7. Mrs. Inija Trinkūnienė: Romuva Religion and European Indigenous Traditions

Time: Sat, November 13, 2021 10am12pm Eastern Time (US)

Description: A polycentric worldview holds that each individuated culture has its own unique form but is part of an interconnected web of cultures that share a common metaphysical blueprint in substance. This builds tolerance through understanding and provides a platform for diversity. The world was once dominated by polycentric religious philosophies, and all modern science and aesthetics have roots in those cultures. What was their religious meta-model of spiritual life? Indigenous classical religious traditions have historically faced discrimination and continue to do so. Their internal and external challenges will be highlighted here, as well as positive developments in this regard.

Public Event - Speaking Up series

Watch YouTube recording here.

Topic: Persecution and Ethnic Cleansing of Indo-Caribbeans in Guyana

Speaker: Mr Ravindra Dev

Time: Sat, October 23, 2021 10am11am Eastern Time (US)

Description: The Indian diaspora in many of the colonies who went as indentured labourers is now facing persecution by different political actors. There have been several instances of targeted violence against people of Indian origin in Guyana. As a result, the Guyanese Indians are living in perpetual fear of ethnic cleansing. Mr. Ravindra Dev is a 4th generation Girmitiya. After a successful legal career in the USA, he returned to Guyana as a Hindu activist in 1991. He formed the RISE, ORGANISE AND RALLY (ROAR) Guyana Movement in 2000 after the anti-Indian Riot. Later he also got elected to Parliament (2001-2006).

Public Event - Speaking Up series

Watch YouTube recording here.

Topic: Persecution of Bangladesh's minorities and their demographic decline

Speaker: Mrs. Priya Saha

Time: Sat, September 18, 2021 10am11am Eastern Time (US)

Description: Bangladesh's journey to present time has had various twists and turns. It had seceded from India in 1947 as part of the Islamic state of Pakistan. Known then as East Pakistan, it had come under intense oppression and exploitation from the West Pakistani establishment on account of racial and linguistic differences as well as a perception that they were not as Muslim as their West Pakistani masters. In 1971, this province then seceded from Pakistan to form the independent country of Bangladesh, with help from India. It was seen as a country that would move away from Islamist ideology towards a common linguistic identity with its multi-religious social fabric. However, the data over the past 50 years tells a different story. Hear it from Priya Saha, one of the country's most fearless advocates for minority rights, currently living in asylum in the United States. She is a women's rights and religious equality activist, nonprofit founder, publisher and editor of a Bengali newspaper, columnist, and researcher.

Public Event - Speaking Up series

Watch YouTube recording here.

Topic: Ethnic Cleansing and Cultural Genocide in Tibet / त्रिविष्टपः

Speaker: Mrs. Namgyal Tsekey

Time: Sat, August 21, 2021 10am11am Eastern Time (US)

Description: A webinar on the subject from a notable Tibetan exile who has served within and outside the Tibetan government-in-exile. Mrs. Namgyal was brought up in a Tibetan refugee camp in India. She later earned her education as a lawyer and worked for the Tibetan government-in-exile within the Tibetan Supreme Justice Commission. She also obtained a second law degree in the US with a focus on international human rights. She has since adjudicated several civil cases among Tibetan subjects and conducted a series of programs to raise legal awareness among the general Tibetan public. She is the founder of the NGO Tibetan Legal Association, shaping it into a well-functioning service organization on a pro bono basis. Of late, she has been instrumental in clearing the confusion surrounding the constitutional crisis that has engulfed the Central Tibetan Administration.

Public Event - Speaking Up series

Watch YouTube recording here.

Topic: Conflict and Violence in the Tigray Province of Ethiopia

Speaker: Kofi Sarpong

Time: Sat, July 17, 2021 10am11am Eastern Time (US)

Description: The current escalating conflict in Tigray has all the markers of other recent wars in West Africa. Timely intervention can prevent it. The speaker's recent report on the subject was published on ICHRRF here. Kofi Sarpong comes to ICHRRF from Ghana and networks and provides outreach to the whole African continent with 55 countries. He brings extensive international experience with him to ICHRRF. He lives a multifaceted life, and has worked in Ghana, Austria and the UK.

Public Event - Speaking Up series

Watch YouTube recording here.

Topic: Contemporary Indigenous Religious Movements and Pre-Christian Traditions of Europe

Speaker: Inija Trinkūnienė

Time: Sat, June 19, 2021 10am11am Eastern Time (US)

Description: Inija Trinkūnienė is a Lithuanian ethnologist, folklorist, sociologist, psychologist, head of folk music group Kūlgrinda and the high priestess (krivė) of the Romuva community of the old Lithuanian faith. She became the high priestess after the death of the previous high priest (krivis) and her husband Jonas Trinkūnas in 2014. She is a founding member of the European Congress of Ethnic Religions, an organization for cooperation among associations that promote the ethnic religions of Europe. The primary goal of the ECER is the strengthening of pre-Christian religious traditions of Europe, emphasizing and fostering their ties with Neopagan movements. She holds a master degree in psychology from Vilnius University. She was a featured speaker at the Indigenous Plenary Session at the Parliament of the World Religions in Toronto in 2015.

Public Event - Speaking Up series

Watch YouTube recording here.

Topic: The plight of the Roma people in Europe (EventBrite calendar link)

Speaker: Prof. Ved Nanda

Time: Sat, May 22, 2021 10am11am Eastern Time (US)

Zoom Meeting Link (Meeting ID: 860 2006 5096 Passcode: 025155)

Description: This year, ICHRRF will be publishing a paper by Prof. Nanda and his students on the plight of the Romani in Europe and the systematic discrimination they face. Ved Nanda is a Professor of Law at the Sturm College of Law, University of Denver and serves as Director Emeritus of the International Legal Studies Program there. In 2006, Professor Nanda was honored with the founding of the Nanda Center for International Law. He served as Vice Provost at the University of Denver from 1994-2008. He holds or has held numerous official posts in international, regional, and national professional and civil society organizations. He is widely published, having authored or co-authored 24 books in various fields of international law. For his public service, legal scholarship and contributions to Human Rights, Prof. Ved Nanda has received a number of awards including the Padma Bhushan, Gandhi, King, and Ikeda Award for Community Peace Building.

Public Event - Speaking Up series

Watch YouTube recording here.

Topic: A personal conversation with Dr. Heshu Rahman, Kurdish Human Rights activist from Autonomous Kurdish Region of Iraq

Speaker: Asst. Prof. Dr. Heshu Sulaiman Rahman

Time: Sat, April 24, 2021 3pm4pm Eastern Time (US)

Zoom Meeting Link (Meeting ID: 854 4224 8185 Passcode: 333160)

Description: Dr. Rahman is an Iraqi Kurd from the city of Sulaimaniyah in northern Iraq. Graduating with degrees in Veterinary science and Microbiology in Iraq, she finally completed a Ph.D. and Post-Doctoral research work in Hematology and Clinical Pathology from Universiti Putra Malaysia. A scientific medical researcher (scholar citation), she has over 110 journal articles, 3 books, 3 co-authorships, 8 patents and 10 research awards to her name. The nanoZER is one of the products of her research. Her talk will last 40 minutes, with 15 minutes for questions. She and her husband are also strong advocates of Kurdish Human Rights across Iraq, Turkey, Iran and Syria.

Public Event - Speaking Up series

Watch YouTube recording here.

Topic: Role of the interfaith movement in the fight for freedom and justice in South Africa

Speaker: South African Ambassador His Excellency Anil Sooklal

Time: Sat, March 20, 2021 10am11am Eastern Time (US)

Zoom Meeting Link (Meeting ID: 959 7081 0928 Passcode: 674223)

Description: Amb. Anil Sooklal is South Africa's Deputy Director-General responsible for Asia and the Middle East, Department of International Relations and Cooperation. His Excellency is also South Africa’s BRICS Sherpa, IBSA (India-Brazil-South Africa) Sherpa the IORA (Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Cooperation) representative, and served as South Africa’s G20 Sherpa between 2016 and 2019. He also served as Chief Director for North Africa, Acting Chief Director for United Nations Political and Global Security Affairs and Head of the Department’s Parliamentary Office in Cape Town, and was coordinator of the substance team of the UN World Conference Against Racism, 2001. His previous foreign postings include having been Counsellor (Political) at the South African Permanent Mission to the United Nations in Geneva and at the South African High Commission in New Delhi, respectively. He had served as a member of the Religious Advisory Board of the SABC from January to August 1995, when he resigned to take up his post at his country's Permanent Mission to the United Nations in Geneva. He is the recipient of several international awards. This event will include the speaker's 40 minute presentation, followed by Q&A.

Public Event

Watch YouTube recording here.

Topic: Native American Cultural Genocide and Ethnic Cleansing in North America

Speaker: Brett Chapman, Esq.

Time: Fri, Feb 19, 2021 8pm – 9:15pm Eastern Time (US)

Zoom Meeting Link (Meeting ID: 941 7194 9192 Passcode: 664162)

Description: Brett Chapman, Esq. is an attorney focused on Native American rights. He is Ponca, Kiowa, and an enrolled member of the Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma. His Ponca ancestors were involved in a landmark civil rights case in 1879 in which the first Native American was granted civil rights in the United States. This event will include the speaker's 40 minute presentation, followed by Q&A.

Public Event

Watch YouTube recording here

Topic: The Role of Ethno-Religious Mediation in America: Promoting Cultural Diversity

Speaker: Dr. Basil Ugorji Ph.D

Time: Fri Jan 22, 2021 9pm – 10pm Eastern Time (US)

Zoom Meeting Link (Meeting ID: 923 2657 3462 Passcode: 435710)

Description: Dr. Basil Ugorji is President and CEO of the International Center for Ethno-Religious Mediation (ICERM). He has outstanding professional experience working at the United Nations Headquarters in New York within the Africa 2 Division of the Department of Political Affairs. He supported the United Nations Envoys and the good offices of the Secretary General by preparing materials and providing required information for conflict intervention and mediation. He also monitored and analyzed conflict developments in Africa while bringing issues of importance to the attention of officers concerned. He authored the book "From Cultural Justice to Inter-Ethnic Mediation: A Reflection on the Possibility of Ethno-Religious Mediation in Africa " available on Amazon.

For ICHRRF Members only.

Topic: Talk on Mayan history, present and future

Speaker: Mayan Elder Mrs. Elizabeth Aroujo

Time: Wednesday, Dec 2, 2020 09:00 PM Eastern Time (US)

Description: Mrs. Aroujo is based in Guatemala, and has devoted a lifetime to preserving, documenting and propagating the ancient Mayan tradition and language. She has witnessed in her own life the continuing persecution of practicing Mayans. In this chat, she will describe the history, medieval invasion, current challenges, and opportunities for positive change. She remains brightly optimistic about the future and considers the world to be undergoing a transition to a new, more harmonious culture that nurtures understanding between human groups and fosters a respect for nature.

For ICHRRF Members only.

Topic: Conversation on the history, present and future of racial dynamics in South Africa

Speaker: Mrs. Raksha Semnarayan

Time: Sunday, Nov 22, 2020 10:00 AM Eastern Time (US)

Description: Raksha Semnarayan was involved in the activism that lead to the drafting of South Africa's new post-Apartheid constitution. Several challenges and systemic biases continue unabated, and change has been slow. Her thoughts and answers on the path forward.