Archive for the 'awards' Category

Final three nominees Human Rights Tulip 2020

October 15, 2020

Oct 15, 2020 | News |

After several rounds of deliberation, an independent jury of human rights experts decided on three candidates out of a shortlist of 13 candidates as the 3 final nominees:

Lilit Martirosyan

Lilit Martirosyan is Armenia’s first registered transgender woman. She is a LGBT activist who has been committed to equal rights for all, regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, since 2009. Martirosyan is the founder and current president of the Right Side Human Rights Defender NGO, founded in 2016. The NGO is run by and for trans people and sex workers in Armenia and the South Caucasus.

Read the complete bio.

The Sudanese Professionals Association

The Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA) is an umbrella association of 17 different Sudanese trade unions. The organization started in October 2012, though was not officially registered until October 2016 due to government crackdowns on trade unions.

In December 2018, the group called for the introduction of a minimum wage and participated in protests in the city of Atbara against the rising cost of living. In 2019 SPA was a driving force behind the Sudanese revolution.

Read the complete bio.

TZK’AT Network of Ancestral of Community Feminism

The TZK’AT Network of Ancestral Healers of Community Feminism from Ixmulew is an organisation of indigenous women defending life, women’s rights, natural resources and territory, in different regions of Guatemala. The organisation was formed by 10 women human rights defenders in October 2015 with the aim of mentoring and supporting each other. All of them have suffered persecution, stigmatisation, death threats, territorial displacement, criminalisation and sexual violence.

Read the complete bio.

This year’s jury was chaired by Eduard Nazarski and included the following jury members:

  • Eduard Nazarski: former director of Amnesty International The Netherlands
  • Adriana van Dooijeweert: President at Netherlands Institute for Human Rights
  • Zohra Moosa: Executive Director at MamaCash
  • Danielle Hirsch: Director of Both ENDS
  • Antoine Buyse, Professor of Human Rights and Director at the Netherlands Institute for Human Rights
  • Ernst Hirsch Ballin: member of the Advisory Council on International Affairs (AIV), chair of the human rights committee

What’s next?

The winner of the Human Rights Tulip 2020 will be chosen by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Stef Blok and will be announced at the end of November. The winner will receive the Human Rights Tulip during an award ceremony on International Human Rights Day on 10 December.

For more on this and similar awards for HRDs, see: https://www.trueheroesfilms.org/thedigest/award/D749DB0F-1B84-4BE1-938B-0230D4E22144

See also; https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2016/11/06/pakistani-digital-activist-nighat-dad-recipient-of-2016-human-rights-tulip/

Brazilian Alessandra Korap Munduruku Wins 2020 Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award

October 14, 2020

Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights has named Alessandra Korap Munduruku the winner of its 2020 Human Rights Award for her work defending the culture, livelihoods, and rights of Indigenous peoples in Brazil.

Indigenous peoples, including Alessandra’s Munduruku community, have faced tremendous challenges in Brazil in recent years—from gold miners and loggers illegally invading and exploiting Indigenous territories; to widespread fires in the Amazon; and an increased risk to the coronavirus; not to mention a combative president who’s proactively removed protections for Indigenous tribes and insulted them on numerous occasions.

As one of the key leaders and organizers of the Munduruku people, Alessandra has fought to stop construction projects and illegal mining that are infringing upon Munduruku territory, garnering international attention and support. She’s advocated for the demarcation of Indigenous lands and for Indigenous communities to be consulted on decisions that affect their territories. Alessandra has also played an important role in advancing the leadership of women in the Munduruku community and among other Indigenous tribes in Brazil through her involvement in the Wakoborûn Indigenous Women’s Association and the Pariri Indigenous Association. 

I’m humbled to be this year’s Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award winner,” said Alessandra Korap Munduruku. “To have the additional backing and support of Kerry Kennedy and her entire organization, especially during the pandemic, will make all the difference as we continue to fight for our rights, including the demarcation of our lands to ensure that Indigenous peoples have their autonomy, and for the fight of women who are also the strength of the resistance.

Throughout history, Indigenous peoples, including the Munduruku, have repeatedly been oppressed, silenced, and subjected to horrific human rights abuses,” said Kerry Kennedy, president of Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights. “Alessandra has heroically faced intimidation and violence for defending Indigenous rights across Brazil—including the ability to oppose projects and developments that affect her peoples and their livelihoods. She is a champion of women’s rights, Indigenous rights, and the foundational right of all human rights—civic space. Civic space protects the right to dissent, to advocate and to defend human rights, free of government reprisal. It is the keystone of a functioning democracy.”

Alessandra will be honored at a virtual ceremony on Thursday, October 22, at 6:00pm EDT. The event is free and open to the public. You can register here

Kerry Kennedy will present the award, followed by a keynote address from former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on the countless threats and challenges Indigenous peoples face around the world. Andrew Revkin, director of Columbia University’s Earth Institute, will then moderate a discussion on the pathways forward for Indigenous peoples in Brazil with an esteemed panel of experts:

  • Juarez Saw Munduruku, Chief of the Sawré Muybu village in Brazil 
  • Maria Leusa Cosme Kaba, a Munduruku women’s leader
  • Francisco Calí Tzay, UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
  • Sebastião Salgado, Award-winning French-Brazilian documentary photographer 
  • Antonia Urrejola Noguera, Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and Commissioner of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights
  • Christian Poirier, Program Director at Amazon Watch 
  • For more on the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights award, see: https://www.trueheroesfilms.org/thedigest/award/69FD28C0-FE07-4D28-A5E2-2C8077584068

See also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2020/07/29/rfks-ripple-of-hope-award-2020-to-kaepernick-fauci-and-other-us-leaders/

https://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2020/10/12/2106955/0/en/Alessandra-Korap-Munduruku-Wins-2020-Robert-F-Kennedy-Human-Rights-Award-for-Her-Work-Protecting-Indigenous-Peoples-in-Brazil.html

Human Rights First to Present Saudi Organization ALQST with William D. Zabel Human Rights Award

October 7, 2020

On 6 october 2020 Human Rights First announced that it will present Saudi human rights organization ALQST with its annual William D. Zabel Human Rights Award, in recognition of its unwavering commitment to human rights in Saudi Arabia and around the world. For more on this award, which was renamed in 2018: https://www.trueheroesfilms.org/thedigest/award/984CA015-FE02-4992-8AED-4EB1AEC7D0EE

Human Rights First has tremendous respect and admiration for the work of ALQST for Human Rights and its founder, Yahya Assiri,” said Michael Breen, president and CEO of Human Rights First. “Their work documenting human rights violations in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the face of escalating pressure on human rights defenders couldn’t be more important, especially in an environment where information on these abuses is difficult to come by. In the present climate, where Saudi leaders can kill their critics with impunity, the work of Yahya Assiri and ALQST is critical.” [see also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2019/03/28/3-saudi-women-human-rights-defenders-released-but-for-how-long-and-what-about-the-others/]

ALQST is one of the most active and trusted organizations that consistently monitors and documents human rights issues in Saudi Arabia, where escalating repression in recent years has decimated civil society and criminalized human rights activists. Through its extensive network of local sources, ALQST has unparalleled access to developments on the ground. Its analysis and reports are relied upon by international NGOs, media outlets and others amplifying the voices of Saudi human rights defenders and their messages among the international community. In the run-up to this year’s G20 summit in November, due to be hosted by Saudi Arabia, ALQST has been at the forefront of calls for governments and businesses not to turn a blind eye to the Saudi authorities’ egregious rights violations.

This award sends a message that all the heroes who have courageously defended human rights in the country, for which they have often paid the highest price, have not been forgotten. We take this occasion to reiterate our call for their immediate and unconditional release.”aid ALQST founder Yahya Assiri. [see also: /https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/tag/yahya-assiri/]

The award is typically presented to recipients at an in-person award dinner and ceremony in New York. However, given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Human Rights First will instead host a virtual event on October 21 to honor ALQST. The event will showcase ALQST’s work and feature an interview between Mr. Assiri and CBS Evening News and 60 Minutes correspondent Scott Pelley.

https://www.humanrightsfirst.org/press-release/human-rights-first-present-saudi-organization-alqst-prestigious-william-d-zabel-human

UN rights chief urges Iran to release jailed Sotoudeh and other human rights defenders, citing COVID-19 risk

October 7, 2020

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According to the UN human rights office (OHCHR), conditions in Iranian prisons, suffering from chronic overcrowding and poor sanitary conditions, have worsened during the pandemic. Shortage of water and inadequate protective equipment, testing, isolation and treatment have led to a spread of coronavirus among detainees, reportedly resulting in a number of deaths. 

Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, underlined the responsibility of States to ensure health and well-being of all individuals under their care, including those in prisons. 

Under international human rights law, States are responsible for the well-being, as well as the physical and mental health, of everyone in their care, including everyone deprived of their liberty,” she said in a news release, on Tuesday 6 October 2020.  

People detained solely for their political views or other forms of activism in support of human rights should not be imprisoned at all, and such prisoners, should certainly not be treated more harshly or placed at greater risk,” she added. 

In February, the Iranian judiciary issued directives on temporary releases to reduce the prison population and avoid further spread of the virus, benefiting some 120,000 inmates, according to official figures, said OHCHR, adding that the measures appear to have been suspended, and prisoners have been required to return in large numbers.  

In addition, people sentenced to more than five years in prison for “national security” offences were excluded from the schemes. 

As a result, most of those who may have been arbitrarily detained – including human rights defenders, lawyers, dual and foreign nationals, conservationists, and others deprived of their liberty for expressing their views or exercising other rights – have been placed at a heightened risk of contracting the virus, added the Office. 

“I am disturbed to see how measures designed to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 have been used in a discriminatory way against this specific group of prisoners,” said High Commissioner Bachelet. 

One of the most emblematic cases is that of prominent lawyer and women’s rights defender, Nasrin Sotoudeh, who was given a combined prison sentence of over 30 years on charges related to her human rights work. Her life is believed to be at considerable risk as she suffers from a heart condition, and has been weakened by a long hunger strike.  

Once again, I urge the authorities to immediately release her, and grant her the possibility of recuperating at home before undergoing the medical treatment of her choice,” said Ms. Bachelet 

Over the years, she has been a persistent and courageous advocate for the rights of her fellow Iranians, and it is time for the Government to cease violating her own rights because of the efforts she has made on behalf of others.”  [see also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2020/10/01/four-well-known-human-rights-defenders-are-the-2020-right-livelihood-laureates/]

The High Commissioner also voiced concerns over persistent and systematic targeting of individuals who express any dissenting view, and the criminalization of the exercise of fundamental rights. 

“It is disheartening to see the use of the criminal justice system as a tool to silence civil society,” said Ms. Bachelet. 

https://news.un.org/en/story/2020/10/1074722

Nansen Refugee Award 2020 to Maye Vergara Pérez of Colombia

October 2, 2020

Committed to a better future, Maye is a fierce advocate for children and teens who have endured sexual exploitation.

UNHCR Nansen Refugee Award Laureate 2020, Mayerlin Vergara Perez, pictured on the beach in Riohacha, La Guajira, Colombia.  © UNHCR/Nicolo Filippo Rosso

The 2020 laureate of the Nansen Refugee Award is a Colombian educator who has spent more than 20 years rescuing sexually exploited and trafficked children, many of them refugees. Mayerlín Vergara Pérez, Maye, has dedicated her life to defending children. As the Caribbean Regional Coordinator for the Renacer Foundation she has devoted more than two decades to helping the Colombian non-profit reach its goal of eradicating sexual exploitation and abuse of children and adolescents. Founded 32 years ago, the organisation has assisted over 22,000 child and adolescent survivors of commercial sexual exploitation, and survivors of other types of sexual and gender-based violence.

People like Maye represent the best of us. Her bravery and selfless pursuit to rescue and protect some of the world’s most vulnerable children is nothing short of heroic,” said Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees.  “She embodies the essence of this award. Her unwavering dedication has saved the lives of hundreds of refugee children and restored their hopes for a better future,” he added.

UNHCR’s Nansen Refugee Award honours outstanding service to people who have been forcibly displaced [for more on  this award, see; https://www.trueheroesfilms.org/thedigest/award/CC584D13-474F-4BB3-A585-B448A42BB673%5D

For over 20 years, Maye has gone to extraordinary lengths, often risking her own safety to rescue girls and boys who are victims of sexual exploitation and trafficking. On foot, she combs the streets of remote communities in north-east Colombia where human traffickers and smugglers operate. Maye leads a team of dedicated staff at the Renacer Foundation in close coordination with the Colombian Family Welfare Institute, a government body tasked with protecting children in the South American nation. By speaking out against the abuses she has witnessed, she has called on civil society, Colombian authorities, and the tourism sector – which is fertile ground for sexual exploitation and trafficking in the country – to ensure that children and adolescents are protected.

Sexual exploitation has a huge impact on children, emotionally, psychologically, physically and socially,” said Maye. “We see girls who don’t feel that their bodies belong to them. Their bodies have been so maltreated, so abused, so exploited that they feel alienated from those bodies, as if they don’t belong to them.”

In 2009, Maye’s relentless activism and advocacy helped usher in two landmark pieces of legislation. Law 1329 established a mandatory minimum sentence of at least 14 years in prison for those convicted of aiding and abetting the sexual exploitation of children and adolescents. While Law 1336 targeted the owners of establishments that allow the sexual exploitation of children on their premises.

Since 2015, the deteriorating situation in Venezuela has forced millions to flee. An estimated 1.7 million have sought shelter in neighbouring Colombia. Desperate to find safety and a better life, Venezuelans have resorted to any means possible to flee the country, with many falling prey to human trafficking networks, criminal gangs, and illegal armed groups that are often active along borders. Women and girls are often forced into sexual exploitation by smugglers to pay for their passage.

According to data provided by Colombian authorities, between 2015 to 2019, the number of victims of human trafficking there increased by 23 per cent. The rise is partly linked to the influx of Venezuelan refugees and migrants into the country.

Data from the Colombian government shows that in just the first four months of 2020, authorities had already identified a 20-per cent rise in trafficking involving foreign nationals over the previous year. In over half of cases, sexual exploitation was the ultimate goal of the trafficking.

See also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2019/09/18/nansen-refugee-award-regional-winners-for-2019-are/

https://www.unhcr.org/news/press/2020/10/5f73260b4/colombian-child-rights-defender-wins-unhcrs-nansen-refugee-award.html

Four well-known human rights defenders are the 2020 Right Livelihood Laureates

October 1, 2020

On 1 October 2020 the Right Livelihood Foundation announced its 2020 Laureates.

The Right Livelihood Award has been honouring courageous changemakers since 1980. [For more on this award see: https://www.trueheroesfilms.org/thedigest/award/97238E26-A05A-4A7C-8A98-0D267FDDAD59]

The 2020 Laureates are receiving the Awards for the following:

This year’s Laureates are united in their fight for equality, democracy, justice and freedom,” said Ole von Uexkull, Executive Director of the Right Livelihood Foundation. “Defying unjust legal systems and dictatorial political regimes, they successfully strengthen human rights, empower civil societies and denounce institutional abuses. This year’s selection of recipients highlights the increasing threats to democracy globally. It is high time that all of us in favour of democracy around the world stand up and support each other.”

The four Laureates, selected by an international Jury, will each receive a prize money of 1 million SEK. As in previous years, the Laureates were nominated in an open process where anyone could submit individuals and organisations for consideration. The Laureates will be honoured during a virtual Award Presentation on December 3, 2020.

For last year see: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2019/09/26/right-livelihood-award-2019-lauds-practical-visionaries/

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Russian human rights defender Yuri Orlov dies at 96

October 1, 2020

Yuri Orlov
Human rights activist and Soviet dissident Yuri Orlov speaks at the American Jewish Committee’s annual meeting, May 14, 1987, at New York’s Grand Hyatt Hotel.AP Photo/Marty Lederhandler

Cornell University professor emeritus and Russian human rights leader Yuri Orlov is dead at age 96, the Moscow Helsinki Group announced Monday. Orlov died Sunday, 27 September 2020 according to the human rights group that Orlov founded in 1976. A cause of death was not named.

Orlov was a nuclear physicist and a Soviet dissident who became an advocate for human rights during the Cold War, co-founding the Soviet branch of Amnesty International before launching the Moscow Helsinki Group to monitor the Soviet Union’s compliance with the 1975 Helsinki Accords. According to his biography, he was a lifelong activist, getting banned from scientific work in Moscow in the 1950s after giving a pro-democracy speech; spending 16 years in exile in Armenia, where he became an expert on particle acceleration; returning to the U.S.S.R. in 1972; and getting arrested in 1977 by the KGB, who sent him to a gulag labor camp in Siberia for “anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda.”

Orlov was freed in 1986 and stripped of his citizenship, and deported to the U.S. as part of a prisoner swap with American journalist Nicholas Daniloff for Soviet spy Gennady Zakharov. Orlov met with President Ronald Reagan at the White House that year and became an American citizen in 1993. Orlov moved to Ithaca and joined Cornell’s Newman Laboratory in 1987 as a senior scientist. He was later elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, wrote a memoir (1991′s “Dangerous Thoughts”) and became a Cornell University professor of physics and government in 2008, teaching seminars on human rights and graduate physics.

Orlov authored or co-authored more than 200 scientific papers and technical reports since arriving in the West. His physics research investigated systematic errors, spin coherence time and other theoretical issues related to the proposed measurement of the proton, electron and deuteron Electric Dipole Moments. His work on the theoretical foundations of quantum mechanics focused on the origin of quantum indeterminism.

Orlov won the Carter-Menil Human Rights Prize of 1986 and the Andrei Sakharov Prize in 2006.

“He lived a long and active life, teaching his beloved physics to the last and continuing to stand by the human rights movement,” the Moscow Helsinki Group said.

https://www.syracuse.com/news/2020/09/cornell-professor-russian-human-rights-leader-yuri-orlov-dies-at-96.html

Turns out State Department did lie about revoking award to Finnish journalist

September 29, 2020

Back in March 2019 I reported on the US State Department revoking an award to a Finnish journalist [https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2019/03/12/one-journalist-who-did-not-get-the-women-of-courage-award-but-almost/], but saying it was done in error. Now the State Department’s Office of Inspector General has established that it was done – as suspected already – because of the journalist had posted critically on President Donald Trump.

Finnish journalist speaks out after Trump administration cancels 'Courage' award

After a Foreign Policy report suggested that the State Department may have retaliated against her because of her criticism Trump on social media, then-State Department deputy spokesperson Robert Palladino asserted it was a miscommunication and that she had been “incorrectly notified” of her award. He called it a “regrettable error,” saying Aro actually “had not” been a finalist. However, the 16-page OIG report found that Aro’s social media posts were the only reason her award was rescinded. “Indeed, every person OIG interviewed in connection with this matter acknowledged that had (the Secretary’s Office of Global Women’s Issues) not highlighted her social media posts as problematic, Ms. Aro would have received the IWOC Award,” it states. Asked about the findings of the report, Aro told CNN Friday, “In my heart I feel like an international woman of courage. That the Trump administration can’t take away from me.” The release of the report comes more than a year after a group of Democratic senators on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee requested an OIG probe into the circumstances of Aro’s award being revoked. Sen. Bob Menendez, the ranking member on the committee, said in a statement Friday that the “State Department owes Ms. Aro an apology.”
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Moreover, the report found that the State Department had provided false information to the press and Congress to explain why the award had been rescinded. Officials from the department’s Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs “told OIG that they disagreed with the language in the talking points and press statements suggesting that Ms. Aro was incorrectly notified and was not an awardee,” the report says. In a briefing with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in March 2019, the acting director of the Office of Global Women’s Issues said “not really” when asked if Aro’s social media posts played a role in the department’s decision and the ambassador claimed he was not “worried” about Aro’s social media posts. The “Department’s statements during this briefing do not align with the internal discussions that occurred at the time the decision was made to rescind Ms. Aro’s selection. OIG found no documentary evidence to corroborate the Department’s claims during the briefing with congressional staff,” the report states. “Also, Department officials from (the Secretary’s Office of Global Women’s Issues), (the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs), and Embassy Helsinki all told OIG that, had Ms. Aro’s social media content not come to light, she would have received the award.”

New documents raise questions over State Dept. move to rescind honor for Trump critic

Menendez said in his statement Friday that the report “confirmed that Secretary Pompeo’s Department misled the public and Congress about why it rescinded Ms. Aro’s award, covering up that her social media posts were the reason the award was withdrawn. The Trump administration also drafted talking points that falsely stated Ms. Aro had never been selected as a recipient.” “Secretary Pompeo should have honored a courageous journalist willing to stand up to Kremlin propaganda. Instead, his department sought to stifle dissent to avoid upsetting a President who, day after day, tries to take pages out of Putin’s playbook,” the New Jersey Democrat said.

Timtik sisters in Turkey share 2020 Ludovic Trarieux Prize

September 26, 2020

This year’s Ludovic Trarieux International Human Rights Prize has been granted to arrested lawyers Barkın Timtik and her sister lawyer Ebru Timtik, who lost her life on a death fast for a fair trial.

See: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2020/08/29/human-rights-defender-ebru-timtik-dies-in-istanbul-hospital-after-238-days-hungerstrike/

For more on this and other awards for human rights lawyers, see: https://www.trueheroesfilms.org/thedigest/award/7C413DBA-E6F6-425A-AF9E-E49AE17D7921

For last year, see: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2019/10/22/2019-ludovic-trarieux-international-human-rights-award-goes-to-rommel-duran-castellanos-of-colombia/

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http://bianet.org/english/human-rights/231534-ludovic-trarieux-human-rights-prize-awarded-to-lawyers-barkin-and-ebru-timtik

Read more at: https://www.deccanherald.com/international/posthumous-award-for-turkish-lawyer-who-died-on-hunger-strike-892583.html

Rafto Prize for 2020 goes to the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms (ECRF)

September 25, 2020

The Rafto Prize for 2020 is awarded the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms (ECRF) for their persistence in bravely resisting Egypt´s state of fear. For more on this award see: https://www.trueheroesfilms.org/thedigest/award/A5043D5E-68F5-43DF-B84D-C9EF21976B18

ECRF documents, reports and raises awareness about the grave human rights violations in Egypt and beyond, and provides legal support to victims of human rights abuses. Almost ten years since the Arab Spring, it is more pressing than ever to focus on the alarming state of basic human rights in the Middle East. ECRF was founded by Mohamed Lotfy and Ahmed Abdallah in the wake of the coup d’état in 2013. In a relatively short time ECRF has grown to a team of more than 50 lawyers and researchers as well as about 1000 volunteers. The aim of their work is to provide non-partisan support to human rights defenders. Despite working under extremely harsh conditions, the ECRF uses the parts of Egypt’s judiciary, which are still functioning, to defend human rights for political prisoners, prosecuted human rights activists and protestors and victims of disappearances and torture. In this state of fear, the work of ECRF stands out as a beacon of hope for human rights.

Enforced Disappearances

The ECRF works at ground level across Egypt, using peaceful and legal means. The organization conducts extensive documentation, monitoring and analysis of human rights violations. To do this, ECRF’s lawyers and researchers meet with victims, collect testimonies and analyse documents and court verdicts. ECRF has emergency hotlines where relatives and friends can report on arbitrary arrests, and receives on daily basis cases of enforced disappearance. The campaign “Stop Enforced Disappearances” documented 2723 cases over a five-year period. Through the documentation of cases, campaigning and legal aid, the ECRF has contributed to several reappearances. They use the documentation in court defences, as a basis for reports, policy papers, for advocacy, press statements and in social media campaigns to raise awareness around human rights issues. [see also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2019/11/28/egyptian-human-rights-defender-ibrahim-ezz-eldin-reappears-after-167-days/]

Egypt’s state of fear

After a political crisis in 2013, the Egyptian army took control again and General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has since ruled as president. Under his leadership, the worrying human rights situation in Egypt has deteriorated to a degree not seen before.

Government security forces frequently conduct mass arrests and enforced disappearances, and critical voices are detained incommunicado for long periods of time. Thousands of political opponents, including children, have been arrested in sweeping campaigns. The prisoners are often held in overcrowded prisons in poor conditions, without access to satisfactory medical care.

The regime has dramatically narrowed the space for civil society and dissent by imposinga number of restrictions on the population such as travel bans, targeting human rights defenders and a range of repressive measures. In August 2019, President el-Sisi approved a law that severely restricts NGOs’ independence. His government uses the “war on terrorism” as a disguise to conceal their abuses. In April 2017, the government declared a state of emergency, which gave the security forces unchecked powers. In 2019 the government passed constitutional amendments that consolidated the authoritarian rule, once again undermining the rule of law.

https://www.rafto.no/the-rafto-prize/the-rafto-prize-2020-to