The Leon H. Sullivan Foundation in Equatorial Guinea

The dictatorship of Equatorial Guinea regularly co-opts public relations firms, celebrities, and high profile events to whitewash the country’s deplorable human rights situation under the rule of President Teodoro Obiang. 

The Leon H. Sullivan Foundation in Equatorial Guinea
Hope Sullivan Masters and Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo

The U.S.-based Leon H. Sullivan Foundation is an organization founded in the civil rights icon’s name by his daughter Hope Masters and former Atlanta mayor Andrew Young. The non-profit organization is engaging in public relations work for the Obiang regime in exchange for funding. The Sullivan Foundation awarded Obiang a prize and has decided to host its next “Sullivan Summit” in the Equatoguinean capital.

HRF has sent a public letter to the Sullivan Foundation denouncing the hypocrisy of hosting a summit called “Africa Rising,” focused on human rights, in a country where the government regularly tramples over the rights of its citizens. HRF has launched a high-profile campaign asking the organization to relocate the summit and informing attendees about the terrible human rights situation in Equatorial Guinea, where despite having a GDP being on par with France and Italy, Equatoguineans survive on less than $2 a day, while Obiang and those in his inner circle live spend millions on pop memorabilia, expensive cars, and lavish mansions around the world. The campaign has sparked media coverage in U.S. News & World Report, Reuters, and The Independent.

UPDATE: [January 10, 2013] U.S. News & World Report has published a report that the Sullivan Foundation has closed its doors following the Sullivan Summit and the surrounding scandal.

Read a selection of articles related to the campaign here:

"An African Kleptocracy’s U.S. Helpers"

"Groups Slam Foundation's Summit in Equatorial Guinea"
Associated Press

"Equatorial Guinea's Dictator Attempts to Rebrand Himself as a Champion of Human Rights with the Help of a Clinton-endorsed Charity"
The Independent 

"Politicians Bow Out of High-Profile Summit Hosted By Africa's Longest-Serving Dictator"
US News and World Report 

"A Summit Where the Air Is Foul"
National Review 

"A Human Rights Toast for an African Tyrant"
Wall Street Journal 

"Hope for Obiang, but Not Equatorial Guinea"
World Policy Blog 

"A Controversial Meeting in Malabo"

"Whitewashing a Dictator"
Frontpage Mag

"US Group Draws Fire for Holding Human Rights Summit in Equatorial Guinea"
The Guardian 

"When a Celebrity Tells Her Dictator-Host, 'No Thanks'"
The Atlantic

"How Dictators Triumph: With A Little Help From Their Friends"
Daily Caller 

"US, Equatorial Guinea: Rebranding an African Dictator"
Global Voices 

"D.C. Foundation Closes Its Doors Following Summit Glorifying African Dictator"
US News and World Report

"Leon H. Sullivan Foundation: The Implosion of a Legacy"
The Washington Post