Posts Tagged ‘award’

Iranian woman wins top award with religious freedom animation

August 26, 2020

An Iranian-born animator has won a top prize for her film about the importance of freedom of religion. Maral Karaee’s “District 18” tells the story of a little girl who lives in a world where people, animals of object of different colours – red, blue, green and yellow – are not allowed to mix. It won the Grand Prize in the Animation category in the Short Film Competition at the Empower Women Media and the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation. When the girl accidentally breaks the rules, she is fired from her job and made an outcast.

https://www.keepthefaith.co.uk/2020/08/25/iranian-christian-wins-top-award-for-religious-freedom-animation/

Azerbaijani journalist Khadija Ismail refuses $250,000 ‘prize’ offered by Qatar

July 26, 2020

On 26.July 2020 Jam News comes the interesting news that the Azerbaijani investigative journalist Khadija ismayilova has been offered a $250,000 cash award from Qatar’s Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption Centre. After looking into the activities of the centre and discovering the fund was created by the emir of Qatar, who had closed the center for investigative journalism in Qatar, Khadija Ismail declined the award. 

Khadija Ismail

The journalist also added that the reason why the foundation wants to give her the prize is to keep famous journalists under its influence with this award: “Why me? They have been distributing the prize for three years, not a single famous person has yet agreed to receive the prize. It is the famous winners who legitimize such initiatives. I don’t want to sound immodest, but a friend explained to me that they need my name.

I answered them. I said, thank you, I investigated the issue and do not believe in your sincerity, and I do not sell my reputation for money.

Khadija Ismail is engaged in investigative journalism. She was arrested in 2014 and imprisoned for seven years and six months on charges of tax evasion and illegal entrepreneurship. On May 25, 2016, the Supreme Court changed her sentence to a suspended sentence of three and a half years and released her. Now the journalist has a ban on leaving the country. See: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2017/11/24/azeri-journalist-khadija-ismayilova-not-allowed-to-come-and-pick-up-her-award-in-stockholm/]

By the decision of the European Court of Human Rights, in this case, the rights of the journalist, protected by Articles 5 (liberty and security of person), 6 (fair trial), 10 (freedom of expression) and 18 (limits on the use of restrictions on rights) of the European Convention were violated.For these violations, the Azerbaijani government as a whole must pay the journalist compensation to the amount of 25,000 euros, but the journalist says that she has not yet received this money.

https://jam-news.net/khadija-ismail-journalist-refuses-prize/

Again no winner for Mo Ibrahim Prize in Africa

April 22, 2020

The Mo Ibrahim Foundation on Thursday announced that there is no winner of the 2019 Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership. This decision was made following deliberations by the independent Prize Committee. Announcing the decision, Prize Committee Chair Festus Mogae commented: “The Ibrahim Prize recognises truly exceptional leadership in Africa, celebrating role models for the continent. It is awarded to individuals who have, through the outstanding governance of their country, brought peace, stability and prosperity to their people. Based on these rigorous criteria, the Prize Committee could not award the Prize in 2019.

Former Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf was the last winner in 2017 [see: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2018/02/12/mo-ibrahim-prize-2017-to-ellen-johnson-sirleaf/]. In fact the award has not been given in most years since its cereation 2007.

Commenting on the decision, Mo Ibrahim, Chairman of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation said: “Africa is facing some of the toughest challenges in the world – ranging from those connected to population growth, and economic development, to environmental impact. We need leaders who can govern democratically and translate these challenges into opportunities. With two-thirds of our citizens now living in better-governed countries than ten years ago, we are making progress. I am optimistic that we will have the opportunity to award this Prize to a worthy candidate soon.”

The Ibrahim Prize aims to celebrate leaders who, during their time in office, have developed their countries, strengthened democracy and human rights for the shared benefit of their people, and advanced sustainable development.
The candidates for the Ibrahim Prize are former African executive Heads of State or Government who have left their office during the last three calendar years, having been democratically elected and served their constitutionally mandated term. For more on the Mo Ibrahim Prize, see: http://www.trueheroesfilms.org/thedigest/awards/ibrahim-prize-for-achievement-in-african-leadership

While the Ibrahim Prize claims to be the largest annually awarded prize in the world (with US$5 million over ten years), this is mostly theoretical since some 75 million USD have not been disbursed since its inception.

https://thenewdawnliberia.com/mo-ibrahim-foundation-says-no-winner-for-2019/

In-depth investigative report on journalist Miroslava in Mexico

December 30, 2019

On 6 September, 2019 the  Bellingcat Investigation Team published a piece “Miroslava: The Journalist Who Refused to be Complicit“.  [see also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2018/03/24/new-national-award-to-honor-slain-mexican-journalists/]. It is a very detailed report and worth reading in full:

Miroslava Breach lived under constant threat starting in March 2016, when she began to feel pressure over her publications regarding links between drug cartels and politics. She brought this to the attention of her old friend, the recently elected governor of Chihuahua state Javier Corral, as well as those in charge of the mechanisms at the federal level to protect journalists. The Colectivo 23 de Marzo is made up of Mexican journalists in collaboration with Forbidden Stories, Bellingcat and Centro Latinoamericano de Investigaciones Periodísticas (CLIP). We reconstructed the thread of threats linked to Miroslava’s work, the warnings that she raised about the danger she was in, and the clues that she let in her publications prior to her murder on March 23 2017 that the authorities did not fully investigate.

Miroslava Breach in the Tarahumara sierra. She investigated illegal logging, the effects of megaprojects, and narcopolitics. Source: Colectivo 23 de Marzo

Before her murder, a grey Malibu prowled down José María Mata street in the Granjas neighbourhood of Chihuahua. Security cameras captured the vehicle on the street six times between March 21 and 22 2017 as it passed in front of the two-story house now infamous for the murder: number 1609, with its brown gates and a small garden out front. On the morning of March 23, 2017, journalist Miroslava Breach Velducea was shot to death while waiting inside her car to take her son to school.…….

https://www.bellingcat.com/news/americas/2019/09/06/miroslava-the-journalist-who-refused-to-be-complicit/

EU continues to run a human rights award In the GCC Region

December 10, 2019

The European Union Delegation to the United Arab Emirates announced that the 11th Edition of its Chaillot Prize for the Promotion of Human Rights in the GCC Region – honoring local civil society organisations, public or private institutions, as well as individuals for their efforts in promoting general awareness of human rights and the rights of vulnerable groups in the GCC region – has gone to: the Dubai Foundation for Women and Children (for its tireless efforts in protecting and supporting women and children, victims of domestic violence, child abuse and human trafficking) and the Special Olympics World Games Higher Committee (for its ground-breaking event in Abu Dhabi, promoting a spirit of inclusion and tolerance by raising awareness for persons with disabilities). Ahmed Mansoor (see: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2019/11/05/massive-call-in-support-of-ahmed-mansoor-at-his-50th-birthday-how-can-emirates-remain-deaf/) was of course NOT mentioned, neither by the EU nor Gulfnews.

https://eeas.europa.eu/headquarters/headquarters-homepage/60476/announcement-chaillot-prize-2019_hr

https://gulfnews.com/uae/emirati-organisations-win-human-rights-chaillot-prize-1.68350864

Sweden defies Chinese threats after award to book publisher Gui Minhai

November 19, 2019

the Swedish PEN’s Tucholsky Prize was presented to jailed Swedish-Chinese publisher Gui Minhai, . EPA-EFE/Fredrik Sandberg SWEDEN OUT
New Europe reports that Sweden’s culture minister defied a Chinese threat on Friday 15 November after she had awarded a Swedish human rights prize to detained Chinese-Swedish book publisher Gui Minhai.  The ceremony at Sven-Harry’s Art Museum in Stockholm, took place on 15 November 2019.  The Swedish section of the International organization PEN awarded its free speech Tucholsky Prize free speech prize to the 55-year-old Gui, a Chinese-born Swedish citizen now detained in China. The Tucholsky Prize was established in 1984 and is named after German writer Kurt Tucholsky, who sought asylum to Sweden fleeing Nazi Germany in the 1930s. It has been previously awarded to writers such as Adam Zagajevski, Nuruddin Farah, Salman Rushdie, Taslima Nasrin and Svetlana Alexievich.

Gui Minhai published stories about Chinese political leaders out of a Hong Kong book shop. He disappeared while on holiday in Thailand in 2015. He then appeared on Chinese state television confessing to a fatal drink-driving accident from more than a decade earlier. He served two years in prison, was released in October 2017, and then arrested again while travelling on a train to Beijing with Swedish diplomats. [see also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2016/01/21/confessions-abound-on-chinese-television-first-gui-minhai-and-now-peter-dahlin/]

Those in power should never take the liberty to attack free artistic expression or free speech,” Swedish Culture and Democracy Minister Amanda Lind said during the ceremony. An empty chair symbolically represented the writer at the ceremony in Stockholm. The Chinese Ambassador to Stockholm, Guy Congyou, opposed both the award and its presentation by a Swedish government official. Gui Congyou told Radio Sweden that there would be “serious consequences” and “countermeasures” against Sweden.

More specifically, Gui Congyyou told Swedish news agency TT that any government representative attending the ceremony would be unwelcome in China. The Chinese Ambassador maintains that Gui Minhai is not a persecuted author but a criminal who has “committed serious offences in both China and Sweden.

Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven made clear that his government would not back down: “We are not going to give in to this type of threat. Never. We have freedom of expression in Sweden and that’s how it is, period,” Lofven told Swedish Television. “We have made it clear to China’s representatives that we stand by our position that Gui Minhai must be released and that we have freedom of expression in Sweden,” Lind told TT. Sweden’s foreign ministry issued a statement on Friday calling on China to release Gui and made an official representation to Chinese authorities over the ambassador’s statements.

China’s sensitivity on this issue has been a constant feature as shown in one of my earliest blog posts in 2012: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2012/12/06/china-and-its-amazing-sensitivity-on-human-rights-defenders/

1 million $ Berggruen Prize for Justice Ginsberg for her human rights stance

October 25, 2019

Ruth Bader Ginsburg; Photo by Kamil Krzaczynski/UPI | License Photo
On 23 October 2019 UPI reported that Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg received a $1 million prize for her support of human rights and gender equality. The Berggruen Institute, a non-partisan think tank, presented the fourth annual award to Ginsburg, 86. The institute was founded in 2010 by billionaire philanthropist Nicolas Berggruen.
I am delighted the Jury has chosen to honor such a prolific leader in the field of jurisprudence,Berggruen said. “Throughout her career, Ginsburg has used the law to advance ethical and philosophical principles of equality and human rights as basic tenets of the USA..Her contributions have shaped our way of life and way of thinking and have demonstrated to the world the importance of the rule of law in disabling discrimination.”

The Berggruen Prize for Philosophy & Culture is given each year to someone who has contributed to self-understanding and advancement in the world. Ginsburg chose to donate her winnings to a charity or non-profit organization she has not revealed.

https://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2019/10/23/Justice-Ginsburg-awarded-1M-prize-for-support-of-human-rights/7351571852581/

Congo’s Hip-Hop artist Moses Kabaseke Defender of the Month for DefendDefenders

October 23, 2019

Human Rights Defender of the Month (September 2019): Moses Kabaseke 

Moses Kabaseke, a talented hip-hop artist and activist from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), was forced to flee to Uganda in 2013 only 16 years old. Kabaseke, known by his stage name Belidor, has produced music since he was a child. “I use music as a weapon – music has power. I use music to promote human rights.

Moses Kabaseke refers to DRC as the rich country with the poor people. “Back home a life means nothing. In Congo, life is something that can be taken from human beings easily – there’s no justice,” he states. “It’s difficult for people that have not experienced atrocities to understand how that feels like. With my music, I try to capture the trauma and injustices experienced by so many.” When he was only seven years old, his father was killed. “Every night when my mother was crying, I felt so bad. Since that age, I decided to fight for what was right.” In 2012, history repeated itself when his stepfather was killed before his eyes. At that point his mother had to make the difficult decision to leave home. In a quest to find safety, she brought her four children to Uganda.

“We don’t want to be here, but we are forced to be here,” he stresses, pointing out that life in exile is difficult. Being away from home, without external support and regular income, they face many challenges. “We need to look for ways to pay our bills. However, my siblings and I all have the blood of our father, so the thing we know how to do is music; so, we perform.”

In Uganda, Kabaseke continued his human rights promotion by composing music. After five years of hard work, often performing in Kampala’s bars, restaurants, and churches to finance his music, he recently finished his first autobiographical album. The album, ‘Les Mille Cris’ (Thousands of Cries), which contains ten songs written and produced by himself, conveys messages about human rights violations and injustices in DRC, and life as a refugee, among others. “Les Mille Cris is about breaking down the truth, sensitising Africans and victims of violations, and giving a voice to the voiceless.”

Through his music, he encourages people to tell their story, and moreover, urges the world to listen. Speaking the truth can come at a high cost. “As the number of my followers increase, my personal insecurity increase. Personal safety is essential as an artist talking about human rights,” he says. When asked what inspires him to continue despite the many challenges he is faced with, he states that “I promote human rights because I have been a victim of the system […] we are the main actors in the process of change. We have to stand for our rights.” Moses Kabaseke has partaken in several trainings organised by DefendDefenders, and performed at DefendDefenders’ events.

Check out Moses Kabaseke’s music:

Human Rights Defender of the Month (September 2019): Moses Kabaseke

Students who graduated in 2018/19 in the Netherlands can compete for a human rights award

October 10, 2019

Did you graduate in 2018 or 2019? And did you – at least partially – study in the Netherlands? Then you can compete for the Thoolen NJCM-Thesis Award. The best thesis will be published as a book!

The Dutch section of the International Commission of Jurists (NJCM) will select the best Master thesis in the field of human-rights. Any law student with a university or higher professional educational background is welcome to participate. The thesis must have been written in either the academic year of 2017/18 or 2018/19.

Before submitting your thesis, check whether you meet the requirements as stated in the Regulation for the Thoolen NJCM-Thesis Award <http://njcm.nl/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/Regulation-Thoolen-NJCM-Thesis-Award-2019.pdf> . For any additional questions you can contact the NJCM-secretary at: NJCM@law.leidenuniv.nl <mailto:NJCM@law.leidenuniv.nl>

Visit the Thoolen NJCM-Thesis Award webpage <https://njcm.nl/over-het-njcm/studentencompetities/>  for more information about previous award winners, the jury members and the Regulation.

The deadline for submitting your thesis is 1 December, 2019.
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Among the previoius winner are:

2017: Sylvie McCallum Rougerie, Police Failures to Combat Sexual Assault: Lessons from International and Regional Human Rights Law for Improving Accountability under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
2011: Laura Henderson, Tortured reality. How media framing of waterboarding affects judicial independence
2009: Erik van de Sandt, A child’s story for global peace and justice. Best practices for a child-friendly environment during the statement- and testimony-period in respect of the Rome Statute and the International Criminal Code
2005: Janine de Vries, Sexual violence against women in Congo. Obstacles and remedies for judicial assistance

Revoking of Kamila Shamsie’s Dortmund book award is fiercely contested

September 25, 2019

Kamila Shamsie.
Kamila Shamsie. Photograph: Teri Pengilley/The Guardian

The judges had initially chosen Shamsie for writing that “builds bridges between societies”, but changed their minds on learning she backed the BDS movement, saying that her “political positioning to actively participate in the cultural boycott … contrasts with the claim of the Nelly Sachs prize to proclaim and exemplify reconciliation among peoples and cultures”.

Shamsie’s supporters reply asks: “What is the meaning of a literary award that undermines the right to advocate for human rights, the principles of freedom of conscience and expression and the freedom to criticise? … Without these, art and culture become meaningless luxuries.”

The revoking of Shamsie’s award follows a motion passed in May by the German parliament that labelled the BDS movement antisemitic. But the letter writers point to a decision earlier this month in the administrative court of Cologne ruling that Bonn city council’s decision to exclude the German-Palestinian Women’s Association from a cultural festival because of its support for BDS was unjustified. The writers highlight the statement last year from more than 40 progressive Jewish organisations arguing that conflating anti-Jewish racism with opposition to Israel’s policies and system of occupation and apartheid “undermines both the Palestinian struggle for freedom, justice and equality and the global struggle against antisemitism”.

The letter also criticises the German city of Dortmund, which runs the award, for refusing to make public Shamsie’s written response to the decision.

Shamsie, winner of the UK’s Women’s prize for fiction, had called it a “matter of outrage that the BDS movement (modelled on the South African boycott) that campaigns against the government of Israel for its acts of discrimination and brutality against Palestinians should be held up as something shameful and unjust”. Asked to comment, a spokeswoman for the city of Dortmund said that the jury had decided not to give any further statements. “The council has legitimated the jury of Nelly Sachs prize to choose an awardee,” she said. “The jury is autonomous in its decision and gave reasons in the press release. There has been no council meeting after the jury’s decision, so the withdrawal has not been a topic for the council yet.”

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2019/sep/23/hundreds-of-authors-protest-after-kamila-shamsies-book-award-is-revoked

https://www.timesofisrael.com/writers-defend-uk-author-stripped-of-prize-for-her-support-of-israel-boycott/

http://english.wafa.ps/page.aspx?id=qfv8dda113530808358aqfv8dd

https://www.dawn.com/news/1507849