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Release: Oct. 23, 2000

Human rights activist to speak to Foreign Relations Council Nov. 3

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Going to jail is part of the job for human rights activist Ravi Nair. Nair will speak to the Iowa City Foreign Relations Council on the topic, "A Regional Human Rights Regime for Asia," at noon Friday, Nov. 3 in the Rockwood Fellowship Hall of the Congregational Church, 30 N. Clinton St. in Iowa City. The presentation is open to the public.

Nair is visiting the UI campus as an Ida Cordelia Beam Distinguished Visiting Lecturer. He is executive director of the South Asia Human Rights Documentation Center. He also serves on the Executive Committee of the Geneva-based International Service for Human Rights and is a member of the International Editorial Board of Human Rights Tribune in Ottawa.

Nair has been both rewarded and punished for his commitment and activism. In 1997, he received the M.A. Thomas National Human Rights award. He has also been arrested numerous times by the Indian police. He spent a year in detention under the Defense of India Rules in 1975-76 while protesting against the imposition of the Emergency in India. His last arrest was in December 1993 for breaking a State Government ban against the celebration of United Nations Human Rights Day. Nair faces constant intimidation from intelligence agencies because of his human rights work. The last incidence occurred in November 1999.

The deadline to register for the luncheon is noon Wednesday, Nov. 1. New Pioneer Co-op will cater the meal, and the cost is $6 for members and $7 for non-members. Checks can be written to the Iowa City Foreign Relations Council and mailed to ICFRC, 120 International Center, Iowa City, Iowa 52245-1802. For more information, call 335-0351. Reservations cannot be taken by phone but last-minute adjustments may be made.

Nair's presentation is co-sponsored by International Programs and the UI Center for Human Rights and presented in part with the support of Firstar Bank. For those unable to attend, WSUI-AM (910) will carry this program on Monday, Nov. 6 following the noon news.

The Iowa City Foreign Relations Council is a non-profit association of community and university people interested in learning more about U.S. foreign policy, world affairs and current global issues impacting world societies. The group provides members with the opportunity to hear more than 35 experts per year who visit the University of Iowa campus and the Iowa City/Cedar Rapids area.

ICFRC is part of the UI International Programs, which consists of a number of offices, centers, degree programs, academic programs, research projects and services. Organized under the Associate Provost and Dean for International Programs, these units serve to further internationalize the campus and community and promote global scholarship, research and teaching.