Archive for the 'nominees' Category

MEA Nominee Mario Joseph to address prestigious law school of Indiana

May 3, 2013

Human rights lawyer Mario Joseph, MEA Nominee 2013, will give the commencement address at the IU McKinney School of Law on Saturday 11 May in Indianapolis.

Mario Joseph Final Nominee MEA 2013

Mario Joseph, Haiti – Final Nominee MEA 2013

The announcement by the University describes him as “A finalist for one of the world’s most prestigious human rights awards“, who has been called “Haiti’s most prominent human rights lawyer” by The New York Times.

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Iran should Immediately release imprisoned Human Rights Defenders

June 19, 2012

Several human rights organizations, including AI, called on Iranian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Abdolfattaf Soltani, a prominent lawyer and founding member of the Center for Human Rights Defenders (CHRD), an organization co-founded by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi

Abdolfattah Soltani was originally sentenced by Branch 28 of the Revolutionary Court to 18 years’ imprisonment to be served in the remote city of Borazjan, some 620 miles south-west of Tehran, which will make it hard for his family to visit him. Soltani was also banned from practicing law for 20 years.

His lawyer and family were informed of the initial sentence March 4. On June 4, his family was informed that Branch 54 of the Appeal Court of Tehran had reduced his sentence to 13 years’ imprisonment and overturned the ban on practicing law for 20 years; the court confirmed that his imprisonment sentence is to be served in the city of Borazjan.

Arrested on September 10, 2011 on charges including “spreading propaganda against the system,” “setting up an illegal opposition group [the CHRD],” and “gathering and colluding with intent to harm national security,” Soltani also faced charges of “accepting an illegal prize and illegal earnings” relating to his acceptance of the Nuremberg International Human Rights Award in 2009.

On at least two occasions since his imprisonment, Soltani was pressured to “confess” on camera, including “confessing” that the center had received funding from foreign sources to encourage a “soft revolution” in Iran – which Soltani denies.

Since the CHRD was forcibly closed in December 2008, Iranian authorities carried out a campaign of prosecution and harsh sentencing against anyone with actual or perceived links to the center. Its members have continued to carry out their work in support of human rights but have faced repeated harassment, intimidation, arrest and imprisonment. Several are currently serving prison sentences in Tehran’s Evin Prison, including Narges Mohammadi  (six-year sentence),  Mohammad Seyfzadeh (a two-year prison sentence), Mohammad Ali Dadkhah (nine years’ imprisonment – currently at liberty, though he may be called to serve his sentence at any time) and MEA 2012 nominee Nasrin Sotoudeh (6-year jail term).

Iran: Immediately Release Imprisoned Human Rights Defenders | Amnesty International USA.

Summary of press conference in Geneva on 24 April now on

April 30, 2012

The streaming of the press conference in Geneva on 24 April has some technical problems but now there is a nice and short summary of it on the website Also the 3 mini portraits on the 3 nominees are available on that site.

Breaking news: the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights – MEA 2012 nominee

April 24, 2012

Today the nominees of the Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders 2012 are announced in Geneva. The ann0uncement was made by the new Chair of the Martin Ennals Foundation, Mrs Micheline Calmy Rey, until last year the President of and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland.  Each nominee deserves its own post!  One of the 3 nominees is the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR).

BCHR is a nongovernmental organization that conducts research, documents human rights abuses, provides information to international NGOs and the diplomatic community in Bahrain and advocates locally and internationally.  Several of its leaders have been arrested wihout cause. BCHR has continued its human rights activities despite a hostile environment, in particular the numerous threats issued by the Government, warning that further ‘legal’ action will be taken against the members should they continue their activities.  Through its website ( BCHR struggles to promote democracy and human rights in accordance with international norms, encourages and supports individuals and groups to be proactive in the protection of their own and others’ rights. BCHR has emerged as a model NGO in the region on how to continue to operate and leverage national and international advocacy despite a repressive national context. It is only the second time in the 20-year history of the MEA that an organisation is one of the nominees.


October 23, 2011

Nominations for the 2012 MARTIN ENNALS AWARD FOR HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS (MEA) can be made on the new website of the MEA: where forms can be filled out electronically (in English, French and Spanish). Deadline is 9 December. Please pass this on to all who need to know, thanks

Nominees for the Martin Ennals Award 2011 announced today

March 12, 2011

Today Michel Veuthey. Board member of the Martin Ennals Foundation, announced the Nominees for the Martin Ennals Award 2011 during the closing ceremony of the Human Rights Film Festival in Geneva.

The five nominees are: Ms Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera (Uganda), Father Alejandro Solalinde Guerra (Mexico), Mr. Azimjon Askarov (Kyrgyzstan), Mr. Pacifique Nininahazwe (Burundi), and Ms Vilma Nuñez de Escorcia (Nicaragua).

The Martin Ennals Award is a unique collaboration of ten international human rights organisations which constitute the Jury: Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Human Rights First, International Federation for Human Rights, World Organisation Against Torture, Front Line, International Commission of Jurists, German Diakonie, International Service for Human Rights and HURIDOCS.

For more information (English, French and Spanish) and portraits of the nominees please go to