Human Rights Watch honors HRDs from Congo, Libya

August 14, 2012
English: Human Rights Watch logo Русский: Лого...

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Two courageous and tireless advocates for human rights have been selected as recipients of the prestigious Alison Des Forges Award for Extraordinary Activism. Abbé Benoît Kinalegu from the Democratic Republic of Congo and Salah Marghani from Libya are leading voices for justice in their countries, working relentlessly to protect the rights and dignity of others. They will join four other international recipients of the award as they are honored at the Human Rights Watch Voices for Justice Annual Dinners in 15 cities worldwide in November 2012.

The award is named for Dr. Alison Des Forges, senior adviser to Human Rights Watch’s Africa division for almost two decades, who died in a plane crash in New York on February 12, 2009. Des Forges was the world’s leading expert on Rwanda, the 1994 genocide, and its aftermath. Human Rights Watch’s annual award honors her outstanding commitment to, and defense of, human rights. It celebrates the valor of people who put their lives on the line to create a world free from abuse, discrimination, and oppression.

“These human rights defenders have spoken out and helped people who needed protection in some of the most dangerous and difficult situations in the world,” said Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch. “They show that courage and persistence can make a difference even during periods of conflict and violent transition.”

The recipients of Human Rights Watch’s 2012 Alison Des Forges Award for Extraordinary Activism are:

  • Abbé Benoît Kinalegu, a Congolese priest and director of the Dungu-Doruma Diocesan Commission for Justice and Peace, who exposes abuses committed by the rebel Lord’s Resistance Army and works to rehabilitate its victims; and
  • Salah Marghani, a Libyan human rights activist and lawyer, who has worked to reveal the truth about human rights atrocities under Muammar Gaddafi and abuses still happening.

Recipients of the 2011 award, who will also be touring North America and Europe this year, are:

  • Sihem Bensedrine, a Tunisian journalist and activist who heads the Arab Working Group for Media Monitoring and serves as a spokesperson for the National Council for Liberties in Tunisia, traveling to Amsterdam and Geneva;
  • Anis Hidayah, executive director of Migrant Care, a leading Indonesian organization working to protect the rights of millions of migrant workers, traveling to Oslo and Zurich;
  • Farai Maguwu, director of the Center for Research and Development in eastern Zimbabwe and a leading voice against the abuses taking place in the Marange diamond fields, traveling to London, Munich, and Paris; and
  • Consuelo Morales, director of Citizens in Support of Human Rights, based in Monterrey, which brings abuses in Mexico’s “war on drugs” to light, traveling to Chicago, New York and Toronto.

Human Rights Watch staff members work closely with the human rights defenders as part of the organization’s research into some 90 countries around the world. The defenders will be honored at the 2012 Voices for Justice Human Rights Watch Annual Dinners in Amsterdam, Beirut, Chicago, Geneva, London, Los Angeles, Munich, New York, Oslo, Paris, San Francisco, Santa Barbara, Silicon Valley, Toronto, and Zurich.

Awards for Rights Activists from Congo, Libya | Human Rights Watch.

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