Foundation Will Hold Politician-Studded Summit Glorifying Africa's Longest-Serving Dictator

Foundation Will Hold Politician-Studded Summit Glorifying Africa's Longest-Serving Dictator

Elizabeth Flock July 30, 2012
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The biennial summit organized by the Leon H. Sullivan Foundation, located in the heart of K Street, has for two decades been a place for world leaders to convene and talk about solutions for Africa with the help of the African diaspora.

 

The biennial summit organized by the Leon H. Sullivan Foundation, located in the heart of K Street, has for two decades been a place for world leaders to convene and talk about solutions for Africa with the help of the African diaspora.

 

Previous attendees include presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, General Colin Powell and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

 

And yet this year, the foundation—named after Baptist minister and Martin Luther King-era civil rights leader Rev. Leon Sullivan—has made an odd choice about the location and host of its summit. This August, the Sullivan Summit will be held in the central West African country of Equatorial Guinea, with host "His Excellency Teodoro Obiang-Mbasago."

 

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The foundation boasts on its website that under President Obiang's rule, tiny Equatorial Guinea has "enjoyed the most productive period of peace, stability and development in its history."

 

But the country has also developed one of the worst human rights records under Obiang, who since the death of Moammar Gaddafi holds the title of Africa's longest-ruling leader.

 

When presidential elections were held in 2009, Obiang received almost 100 percent of the vote in an election widely seen as fraudulent. Equatorial Guinea ranked miserably in Freedom House's "2012 Freedom in the World" report, as well as the Committee to Protect Journalist's study of most censored countries. Recent State Department reports decry incidents of "arbitrary arrest, detention, and incommunicado detention" under Obiang and Human Rights Watch calls Obiang's rule a "dictatorship."

 

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