Surprise announcement of a Franco-German Human Rights Prize

December 5, 2016

This blog follows with special attention developments in the area of human rights awards. The announcement of a new award on 1 December 2016, the Franco-German Prize for Human Rights and the Rule of Law, came as a surprise. Some aspects remain unclear (is there a monetary component?; what will be the frequency?) but judging from the text of the press release as well as the choice of recipients of the inaugural prize, it is mostly an award for human rights defenders. The ministers of Foreign Affairs from France and Germany say inter alia the following:

To pay tribute to the inspiring engagement of these brave women and men throughout the world, the two of us have decided to establish a Franco-German Prize for Human Rights and the Rule of Law. .. We will honour women and men who are showing great dedication in standing up for the rights of their fellow human beings. They often do so at significant personal risk and under difficult conditions. They deserve our thanks and support. Protecting and promoting human rights is at the core of French and German foreign policy endeavours….Yet we now need to ensure that this great achievement is not called into question. We see the danger of erosion – in a world where an increasing number of governments are restricting public and individual freedoms in the name of security, political stability or cultural idiosyncrasies. We also see this happening in democracies, where journalists, lawyers and members of non-governmental organisations are being arrested, where people are tempted to build walls, even though history has taught us that walls never solve anything.”

On the basis of joint proposals from German and French missions abroad, this year’s Prize will be awarded to:
Tahmina Rahman (Bangladesh),
– Aleh Hulak (Belarus),
– Maria da Penha (Brazil),
– Thun Saray (Cambodia),
– Maximilienne Ngo Mbe (Cameroun),
– Beverley K. Jacobs (Canada),
– Jacqueline Moudeïna (Chad),
– Wang Qiaoling (China),
– Montserrat Solano Carboni (Costa Rica),
– Sunitha Krishnan (India),
– Mary Lawlor (Ireland),
– Pietro Bartolo (Italy),
– Eva Abu Halaweh (Jordan),
– Sarah Belal (Pakistan),
– Valentina Cherevatenko (Russia),
– and the White Helmets (Syria).

The first reaction is already in and not surprisingly from China [see reaction re this year’s MEA or Liu’s Nobel Peace Prize China‘s Foreign Ministry has called a meeting with the French and German envoys to Beijing re the award for Wang Qiaoling, the wife of jailed human rights lawyer Li Heping for her tireless dedication to representing the families of lawyers and activists held in China“. German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and his French counterpart Jean-Marc Ayrault took the opportunity to call on the Chinese government to release Li Heping from jail, where he is awaiting trial.

Source: Franco-German Human Rights Prize – Ambassade de France en Irlande – French Embassy in Ireland

One Response to “Surprise announcement of a Franco-German Human Rights Prize”

  1. […] December 7, 2017 On 4 December 2017 the winners of the 2017 Franco-German Prize for Human Rights and the Rule of Law were announced. At the Franco-German Council of Ministers in April 2016, Germany and France announced the launch of an annual international Franco-German Prize for Human Rights and the Rule of Law. [see:…]. […]

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