Systematic mass surveillance, with the dangers it poses to democracy, is one of the most explosive issues facing us in the 21st century. PEN has already reacted to these challenges with the PEN Declaration on Digital Freedom. Under the name Writers Against Mass Surveillance a small group of authors has launched an appeal that has been signed by more than 500 writers from around the world, including five Nobel laureates: Orhan Pamuk, J.M. Coetzee, Elfriede Jelinek, Günter Grass and Tomas Tranströmer.
As PEN International and PEN Centres around the world today mark Human Rights Day
Four Syrian activists abducted in the Damascus suburbs, apparently in relation to their human rights and humanitarian work, must be released immediately and unconditionally, 16 human rights organizations said today.
The Chains Will Shrivel into Foil
As the number of journalists killed in the course of their work continues to rise, PEN International welcomes the news that the Third Committee of the United Nations has voted to create an international day to protect journalists.
Cambodian land rights activist and protest-song writer Yorm Bopha was released on bail on 22 November 2013, pending a re-hearing of her case by the Court of Appeal. Bopha was arrested on 4 September 2012, and subsequently convicted of “intentional violence with aggravating circumstances” under Article 218 of the Cambodian Criminal Code on 27 December 2012.
Dear PEN members, Dear friends,
Statement by John Ralston Saul, PEN International President
The PEN community, and writers worldwide, mourn the death of Doris Lessing. The British novelist, activist, poet and playwright passed away on Sunday at the age of 94 in her London home. In 2007, aged 88, she was a worthy recipient of the Nobel Prize for Literature, being only the 11th woman to have won the award over the course of its 112-year history; and its oldest. Lessing was a long-standing member of English PEN, and the recipient of their Golden PEN lifetime achievement award in 2002.
Human rights organisations call on Syrian government to implement the UN Resolution The Syrian government should immediately release human rights defenders, Mazen Darwish, Hussein Ghareer and Hani Al-Zitani, members of the Syrian Centre for Media and Freedom of Expression (SCM), and drop all the charges against them. Another hearing of their trial held on 18 November, 2013 at the Anti-Terrorism Court in Damascus on alleged terrorism charges brought against them by the Syrian Government’s Air Force Intelligence.