Stella Assange, lawyer and partner of Julian Assange, and activist Helena Maleno bring their struggle for human rights to the Rototom Sunsplash Social Forum.
Their voices will converge on August 21 to focus on the rights that are violated in the informative work, such as that exercised by Assange and key to peace in times of war, and those that are completely diluted, along with thousands of lives, in the attempt to cross the Mediterranean.

The table ‘In support of Julian Assange’ will also add Alessandro Di Battista and Sabrina Pignedoli, from M5S, while l’Aurora Grup de Suport de Burriana in support of humanitarian rescue boats for migrants will join the debate ‘The wars that persecute us’ led by Maleno.

The Rototom Sunsplash Social Forum completes its program with a double session for its closing with the defense of peace and human rights as the axis and the voices of those who have suffered or suffer the consequences of this work of social activism.

This is the case of Stella Assange, lawyer and partner of Julian Assange, which has launched a tireless battle to publicly denounce the situation of the journalist and founder of WikiLeaksHe has been deprived of his freedom for twelve years and has been persecuted by the US justice system since he published the largest leak of military secrets in the history of the United States. Also the situation of Helena Maleno, activist and founder of Caminando Fronteras, deported by Morocco for her support to migrants trying to reach the Spanish coast.

The two will converge in Benicàssim in this double, and last session, of the Social Forum, which has already added other renowned guests for its ‘United for Peace’ edition, which will be inaugurated by videoconference by the American activist and thinker Noam Chomsky with journalist Olga Rodríguez, and will also be present, among others, Francesco Vignarca, coordinator of the Italian Disarmament Network; journalist Teresa Aranguren; peace researcher Tica Font, renowned botanist Francis Hallé, and director and actor Juan Diego Botto.

Stella Assange will raise her voice at the session ‘In Support of Julian Assange’ (August 21, 6 p.m.). The journalist is at risk of being extradited to the United States and sentenced to life imprisonment for his reporting by publishing documents that prove war crimes committed by the United States and other countries in the Iraq conflict. For 12 years, the founder of WikiLeaks has been deprived of his freedom: first as a political refugee in the Ecuadorian embassy in London and now as a detainee in the British maximum security prison of Belmarsh, “surrounded by a chilling media silence that we cannot accept,” say the Rototom Sunsplash.

Throughout her career as a lawyer, Stella Assange has been an international advocate for human rights, most prominently in the case of her husband Julian Assange. In 2011 she was hired as a lawyer by the journalist’s legal team and has assisted him since his stay at the Ecuadorian embassy in London. He constantly travels and participates in international conferences and events to denounce and prevent the “grave situation of injustice” experienced by the WikiLeaks founder, and his delicate state of emotional and physical health after so many years in captivity, from being silenced. Last June she was received by Pope Francis.

The table in support of Julian Assange will feature two other expert voices. On the one hand, that of the reporter, writer and political activist Alessandro Di Battista, co-founder and former deputy of the Movimento 5 Stelle (M5S). He has created the play ‘Assange. Colpirne uno per educarne cento’.to highlight the situation of the WikiLeaks founder. On the other, that of journalist and M5S MEP Sabrina Pignedoli. His work in the European Parliament focuses mainly on the fight against mafias and organized crime, and also on the defense of freedom of the press and the rule of law. In 2022 he proposed Julian Assange as a finalist for the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, collecting signatures and bringing Stella Moris to a plenary session in Strasbourg.

And from the rights that are violated in the exercise of information, key to peace in the times of war we live in, with Ukraine shaking consciences, to those that are completely diluted in the Mediterranean. Every day, 5 people lose their lives on the Euro-African Western Border. Access routes to Spain leave 951 victims in the first half of 2023. A total of 112 women and 49 children have died in their attempt to reach the Spanish coast. 19 vessels have disappeared with all persons on board during this period. The victims came from as many as 14 different countries, mostly African. This is what is contained in the latest report of the organization Caminando Fronteras on migrations to Spain, which will be discussed by Helena Maleno, human rights defender in the NGO and also journalist and researcher specializing in migration and human trafficking, at the Social Forum of the Rototom Sunsplash.

“The politics of death have been in place on the border for a long time. But we also detected an increase in impunity in the face of rising death rates, which leaves victims and their families without access to redress and justice,” he says. The figures in this report, he says, “are part of a process of reconstruction of memory: we count them so as not to forget them, we elaborate them for their families and communities, as a tool to continue fighting for borders to stop being spaces of no rights,” Maleno explains.

The human rights activist represents the voice of those who are on the front lines of this struggle, whether at the border, at sea or involving an entire community. His voice will guide the debate ‘The wars that haunt us’ (August 21, 4 p.m.) to look at these figures against oblivion and also at the current reality, in which both migrants and activists defending their rights are persecuted. Helena Maleno was deported in 2021 from Morocco, where she lived with her family and where she worked in support of migrant communities.

The debate, moderated by the journalist of the radio station SER Nicolás Castellanowill join Vicent Aleixandreoperations coordinator of L’Aurora Support Group of Burriana. The organization has been cooperating for more than three years with NGOs that rescue lives in the Mediterranean, “fighting from land – from the solidarity ports of Burriana, Benicarló, Vinaròs and Sagunt – to save lives at sea”, according to the organization, which has 130 volunteers.

Precisely the solidarity campaign channeled by Rototom Sunsplash through its reusable cups will be destined this year to L’Aurora. The glass, with a cost of 1.5 euros, can be deposited after each use in one of the six containers provided in the enclosure, becoming a direct aid to the work of boat maintenance that develops the organization from the port of Burriana. L’Aurora will also be present at the No Profit area of the festival, together with other organizations dedicated to the defense of human rights and conflict resolution, such as the Centre Delàs d’Estudis per la Pau, CEAR, Amnesty International, Asamblea Popular València Contra les Guerres and Solidary Wheels-No Borders for Human Rights.

The meeting ‘The wars that haunt us’ is organized in collaboration with the film festival on human rights in Valencia, Humans Fest, and will open with the screening of the short film ‘The way I welcome you’, by Amparo Fortuny, Best Screenplay Award of the XIV edition of the event.

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