75 years of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: Who did we leave behind?

In December 1948, the international community adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in response to the Holocaust and other crimes against humanity committed during World War II. Since then, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights has been a beacon of hope and inspiration for people that are oppressed and people who want to help. Although widely considered a success story, there are countries and regions in which the Universal Declaration of Human Rights has failed. On July 30, 2023, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, UNODC, chose as a theme for the 2023 World Day Against Trafficking in Persons “reach every victim of trafficking, leave no one behind”. As we reach the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the international community should pause for a moment and reflect on who has been left behind and who has been robbed of universal rights with which each of us are born.

It is no secret that the People’s Republic of China, known for thousands of years as a center of wisdom and culture, birthplace of Confucius and Lao Zi, has replaced traditions that served to elevate the very best of humankind with a communist system that has sought to destroy the goodness of the human spirit and has accumulated one of the most abominable human rights records in history. This is particularly evidenced by the practice of forced organ harvesting of living prisoners of conscience.

On December 10, 2023, DAFOH hosted a roundtable to reflect on the accomplishments of the Universal Declaration and the international community’s failure to effectively intervene in China’s 24-year long persecution of Falun Gong and the practice of forced organ harvesting of its practitioners.

G. Weldon Gilcrease, MD, Moderator
Director of Oncology, Professor at the University of Utah School of Medicine. Assistant Professor of medicine at the University of Utah. Dr. Gilcrease is the medical director of the Huntsman Cancer Hospital and the program director for the hematology/oncology fellowship. He has won numerous teaching awards and is a member of AOA, the medical honors society, as recognition for his tireless devotion to medical education. Dr. Gilcrease has worked as deputy director for Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting for 5 years. He has spoken at academic centers across the country on behalf of DAFOH, contributed to legislation in efforts to stop forced organ harvesting, and continues to raise awareness about the worst medical ethics abuse in recent history.


David Beyda, MD – Keynote Speech
Chair, Dept. of Bioethics and Medical Humanism, University of Arizona
Prof. David Beyda is the founder and medical director of Medical Mercy, with the non-profit advocacy group, One Child Matters, serving thousands of disadvantage youth in five regions. Since 2004, he has made more than 55 medical trips to third world countries serving underprivileged children. Dr. Beyda is also a bush pilot physician, bringing medical teams to isolated areas of Africa and Cambodia. The recipient of numerous honors and awards, he received the Humanitarian Award, from the American Academy of Pediatrics.


Lord Hunt of Kings Heath, House of Lords, UK

Philip Hunt, Lord Hunt of Kings Heath, is a former Health Minister and is a Labour member of the House of Lords. Lord Hunt has introduced several bills related to transplantation, medical ethics and medical practices.



Zain I. Khalpey, MD, PhD, FACS, FETCS, MRCS (Eng)
Dr. Zain I. Khalpey is a well-versed cardiothoracic surgeon who diagnoses and treats patients in several roles throughout Arizona. He acts as Associate Professor of Surgery, Cellular and Molecular Medicine, Medical Imagining, and Medicine at the University of Arizona College of Medicine in Tucson, Arizona. He is the Tony A. Marnell Sr. Endowed Chair for Research in Cardiac Surgery at the UA Sarver Heart Center, and serves as surgical director of the Heart Transplant and Mechanical Circulatory Support Program at Banner – University Medical Center Tucson. Furthermore, Dr. Khalpey is Director of Clinical and Translational Cardiothoracic Research for the Ex Vivo Lung Program, Director of CAPTURED (Cardiopulmonary Stem Cell Biobank), is Co-Director of the Heart Transplant and Perfusion Science Programs, and acts as Director of Robotic Mitral Valve Program in the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Banner University Medical Center.


Winston Liu, Witness
Winston Liu is a computer-control engineer working in a company in North Carolina. Mr. Liu was born in China. Since 1998, he has been practicing Falun Gong, a spiritual self-cultivation discipline rooted in ancient Buddhist and Taoist philosophies. Because he refused to renounce his faith, the Chinese communist regime put him in detention and prison four times between 1999 and 2003. As a prisoner of conscience, he endured mental and physical torture. He fled to Canada in 2005 and obtained refugee status as a Falun Gong practitioner protected by the Canadian government. He moved to the United States in 2012 and has lived here ever since. Mr. Liu received master’s degrees in engineering from Tsinghua University, a premier university in China, and from the University of Calgary, in Canada. As a public speaker, Mr. Liu tells audiences his personal story of being persecuted in China.


David Matas, International Human Rights Lawyer
David Matas graduated from Oxford University, England, and is a legal expert specializing in refugee, immigration and human rights law. In July 2006, he and David Kilgour, through independent investigations, published “Report into Allegations of Organ Harvesting of Falun Gong Practitioners in China.” The work won Matas (and Hon. David Kilgour) the 2009 Human Rights Award from the German-based International Society for Human Rights (IGFM) and nomination for the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize. Over the past decade, Matas has traveled to more than 40 countries to raise awareness of China’s forced organ harvesting from living prisoners of conscience, especially Falun Gong practitioners. The documentary film of these investigations investigation into China’s systemic crime, “Human Harvest,” won the 2015 Peabody Award.


Howard Monsour, MD
Dr. Howard Paul Monsour Jr is board-certified in internal medicine, gastroenterology and Hepatology and holds an ABIM certification in Transplant Hepatology. Dr. Monsour was previous Medical Director of Liver Transplantation at The University of Texas Medical School Hermann Memorial Hospital. He was instrumental in establishing transplant programs in the Houston area, including Hermann Memorial Hospital, St. Luke’s, Medical Center, and Texas Children’s Hospital. He served as Chief of Hepatology at Houston Methodist Hospital and was formerly the Director of the Kidney Hepatitis C Clinic and co-director of the Methodist Liver Cancer Program. His academic appointments included associate professor at the University of Texas Medical School, Wiell Cornell Medical College, Texas A&M University. Dr. Monsour is widely published and has served as principal investigator in trials involving the treatment of hepatitis C, hepatitis B, and hepatocellular carcinoma among other liver diseases. He has been designated as a fellow of the American Gastroenterology Association for his past achievements. He is also a member of the American Association for the study of liver disease, and The American College of Gastroenterology. He has testified before the Texas legislator and helped pass legislation, barring Texas residents from receiving medical reimbursement if they receive organs from countries that participate in forced organ harvesting.


Marco Respinti, Journalist, Essayist, Lecturer
Marco Respinti is an Italian journalist, member of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), an essayist, translator and lecturer. He has been published widely and contributes to several journals and magazines in Italy and abroad. He is a member of the Advisory Council of the European Federation for Freedom of Belief. He serves as Director-in-Charge of the academic publication “The Journal of CESNUR,” and “Bitter Winter,” a international publication concerning issues of religious liberty and human rights.


Torsten Trey, MD, PhD, Executive Director, DAFOH
Dr. Trey is a researcher, author, and expert in the area of forced organ harvesting. He is the founder (2006) and Executive Director of the Washington, DC based NGO, Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting, DAFOH. The NGO was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2016 and 2017 and received the Mother Teresa Memorial Award for Social Justice in 2019.



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