(Bonn, 25.04.2014) The International Council of the International Society for Human Rights (ISHR) elected Thomas Schirrmacher, the renowned German human rights activist specialising on human traffikcing and religious freedom, as its new president at its two-day session in Bonn, Germany. ISHR has active branches or working groups in 37 countries on all continents. Henriette Baronin de Payreburne, treasurer of ISHR, announced the unanimous election result and was the first to congratulate Schirrmacher (see photo).
Schirrmacher holds four earned doctorates, is a professor of ethics in Germany and Brazil, and holds chairs in International Development in India and in Sociology in Romania. He has given guest lectures worldwide at universities on all continents and has testified on human rights in many parliaments. His commitment to human rights protection has brought him into personal contact with presidents, prime ministers, and cabinet ministers from many countries, as well as with religious leaders such as the Pope, the Ecumenical Patriarch, and several grand muftis. The World Evangelical Alliance, which he has served for many years, represents 600 million Protestant Christians. He is the author of 98 books translated into 18 languages.
Schirrmacher took over the presidency from the president of the section in Uzbekistan, Prof. Dr. Marat Zakhidov, who was acting president of the ISHR for a year. Zakhidov did not run for the presidency but wanted to continue as vice-president. Schirrmacher thanked Zakhidov for having jumped in during a difficult situation in 2013. He said that Zakhidov is the living evidence for the fact that many national sections of the ISHR grew out of illegal underground organizations in the era of the Soviet Union and were founded in the follow-up states of the Soviet Union after 1990. As a human rights activist who was active and suffered under communism, and who is still active in a country where it is not without danger to speak up for all human rights, Zakhidov is a fitting representative for ISHR.
Because of his election as international president, Schirrmacher stepped down as regular member of the German board, though according to the German statutes he stays a co-opted member of the German board. He announced that we will proceed with close cooperation with the German section. Thus in autumn a new ISHR book on “Corruption and Human Rights” will be published, written by Thomas Schirrmacher and David Schirrmacher.
The International Council is made up of representatives of the national sections. The term of office is four years, with the current term running 2012-2016. Thus, the term of the new president and all other board members runs until 2016.
The general secretary of ISHR is the French speaking Swiss Michel Baumann, who resides in Geneva at the seat of the Human Rights Council of The United Nations. The ISHR/IGFM (the German branch of ISHR) has consultative ECOSOC-status with the UN, associate status at the Department of Public Information of the UN, and consultative status at the European Council in Strasburg.