Posts Tagged ‘award’

Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya wins the Four Freedoms Award

January 8, 2022

Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya will receive the Four Freedoms Award this year. The intention is that Tikhanovskaya will receive the prize on April 21 in Middelburg. For more on this award and its laureates, see: https://www.trueheroesfilms.org/thedigest/awards/CC8B97CB-FAE1-5A1F-68DB-0CE63E3306D0

Tikhanovskaya was the main rival to current President Lukashenko, who has ruled the country since 1994, in the 2020 Belarusian presidential election. Her husband, Sergei Tikhanovski, had originally wanted to run for president, but was arrested before he could run for office. Tikhanovskaya then took over his role.

After Belarusian state television released an exit poll showed Lukashenko winning by an overwhelming margin, Tsikhanouskaya said that she didn’t trust that poll, saying, “I believe my eyes, and I see that the majority is with us. She filed a formal complaint with the Central Election Commission on election night, but was detained for seven hours in retaliation. After her release from detention, Tsikhanouskaya chose to flee to Lithuania in fear of repercussions, which could have possibly affected her children.

Tsikhanouskaya and other Belarus leaders of the country’s democratic opposition were awarded the European Parliament’s 2020 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. See: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2020/10/22/belarus-opposition-movement-wins-eus-sakharov-prize-for-freedom-of-thought/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sviatlana_Tsikhanouskaya

https://www.pzc.nl/home/four-freedoms-award-voor-svetlana-tichanovskaja-situatie-in-belarus-wordt-met-de-dag-erger~aff02eaa/?referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com%2F

Alexei Navalny wins EU’s Sakharov Prize

October 21, 2021

Imprisoned Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has been awarded with the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. The award winner was selected by the leaders of the political parties represented in the European Parliament during a plenary session in Strasbourg on Wednesday 20 October 2021. [For more on this and other awards in the name of Sakharov, see: https://www.trueheroesfilms.org/thedigest/awards/BDE3E41A-8706-42F1-A6C5-ECBBC4CDB449]

Navalny, the most prominent foe of Russian President Vladimir Putin, was nominated alongside Afghan women, whose plight has taken centre stage after the Taliban takeover, and Jeanine Áñez, a Bolivian politician who became interim president in 2019 after alleged electoral fraud by Evo Morales. Áñez was later arrested for allegedly plotting coup d’état against Morales. [see: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2021/09/29/the-nominees-for-the-eus-sakharov-prize-2021/]

The award is supposed to be presented during a European Parliament session in Strasbourg on December 15, although this seems unlikely to happen in the case of Navalny since he’s currently serving a two-and-a-half-year jail sentence for fraud in Russia.

See also: https://www.trueheroesfilms.org/thedigest/laureates/c549c081-1c9f-489a-8ba6-6e2323cb9fcb

He says the charges were politically motivated to halt his challenge to the Kremlin. Russian authorities have opened a new criminal case against Navalny that could see him stay in jail for another decade.

Today’s prize recognises his immense bravery and we reiterate our call for his immediate release,” said David Sassoli, President of the European Parliament, in a tweet. The main political parties also celebrated the laureate’s work and recognition, although some

“His unbroken commitment for a democratic Russia is representative of the many activists who are fighting for liberal rights,” wrote David McAllister, a German MEP of the centre-right EPP group and chairman of the parliament’s committee on foreign affairs.

His bravery for freedom of thought and expression show how they are the precondition for democratic politics, human dignity & peace,” said Belgian MEP Guy Verhofstadt, from Renew Europe.

https://www.euronews.com/2021/10/20/alexei-navalny-wins-sakharov-prize-the-eu-s-highest-award-for-human-rights-work

German Africa Prize 2021 goes to Ethiopian lawyer Daniel Bekele

September 28, 2021

Ethiopian lawyer Daniel Bekele is the winner of the 2021 German Africa Prize. The human rights defender is being honored for his unceasing commitment to monitoring and speaking out against injustice.

Daniel Bekele, currently Chief Commissioner of the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC), will receive the German Africa Award for his fight for democracy and human rights. See also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2019/07/08/human-rights-defender-daniel-bekele-now-commissioner-of-the-ethiopian-human-rights-commission/

For more on this prize and its laureates see: https://www.trueheroesfilms.org/thedigest/awards/7bdd4070-5958-11e9-90d9-57c8733f3136

I am delighted that the independent jury has selected an outstanding human rights defender,” said Uschi Eid, President of the German Africa Foundation, which presents the prize.

“[Daniel Bekele] deserves this prize for his lifelong advocacy of human rights. I sincerely hope that the award will encourage [him] and his colleagues at the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission to be fearless and impartial advocates for human rights in Ethiopia,” she added. 

Daniel told DW he was “truly excited and humbled to be the first Ethiopian to receive this prestigious German award.”

I know it will go a long way to encourage and inspire my colleagues at the EHRC, as well as human rights defenders in my country Ethiopia and Africa, who work for the promotion and protection of human rights in increasingly challenging environments,” he said.

As a human rights defender, Daniel Bekele has also fought for women’s rights

Daniel Bekele began his dedication to human rights early in his career.

He started representing non-government organizations as a 23-year-old lawyer, quickly becoming a much sought-after expert on democracy and human rights.

In 2004, Daniel became the Head of Policy Research and Advocacy for Ethiopia at the international charity ActionAid. At the same time, he was also highly involved in the Global Call to Action Against Poverty, a network of thousands of organizations promoting an end to poverty.

As a civil society representative, Daniel assumed a leading role in monitoring Ethiopia’s 2005 parliamentary elections, marked by flawed counting and repeated incidents of post-election violence.

A critic of the election process, Daniel was attacked and injured by armed men in October 2005. He was subsequently arrested, imprisoned, and convicted on charges of trying to “overthrow the government and the constitution.”

He remained in jail from November 2005 until March 2008.

Daniel Bekele’s determination to stand up for political rights, especially those of disadvantaged groups, remains undiminished by his prison sentence.

“The human rights defender believes that economic and social recovery fails to lead to sustainable development without the enforcement of human and political rights,” Eid from the German Africa Foundation said.

“As such, [Daniel Bekele] doesn’t shy away from criticizing donor countries in the North for their cooperation with authoritarian regimes.”

Ethiopia has started a democratic opening under Prime Minister Ahmed

In the wake of Ethiopia’s democratic opening under Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who came to power in 2018, the country’s parliament elected Daniel to lead the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission in 2019.

Daniel has not only transformed the commission, but has also successfully advocated for its greater independence, with parliament passing an amendment in 2020 strengthening the commission’s operational and financial autonomy.

The German Africa Foundation acknowledges, however, that Ethiopia’s political crisis and the civil war in the country’s northern Tigray province have cast a shadow over Bekele’s work at the Human Rights Commission. Watch video 01:52

The EHRC is currently conducting an investigation, together with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, into human rights violations committed by all sides in the Tigray conflict.

See also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2019/04/07/german-africa-prize-goes-to-kenyan-ushahidi-it-pioneer/

https://www.dw.com/en/german-africa-prize-2021-goes-to-ethiopian-rights-activist/a-59189323

With new ‘Courage & Civility award’ Jeff Bezos pours $100 Million into charity

July 22, 2021

After successfully completing his mission to space, Bezos announced a new initiative titled the Courage and Civility Award to honour “leaders who aim high, pursue solutions with courage, and always do so with civility.” 

We live in a world where sometimes instead of disagreeing with someone’s ideas, we question their character or their motives,” Bezos said. “What we should always be doing is questioning ideas, not the person. We need unifiers and not vilifiers.” 

The Courage and Civility Award is a $100 million award for a person to give to charities and non-profit organizations of their choice or keep it for their organization. “It’s easy to be courageous but also mean. Try being courageous and civil. Try being courageous and a unifier. That’s harder and way better and makes the world better,” said Bezos.  

Jones was present at the event in Van Horn, Texas to accept the award. He thanked Bezos, and stated: “Sometimes dreams come true and the headline around the world should be anything is possible if you believe,”. 

See also: https://www.trueheroesfilms.org/thedigest/laureates/27034AB1-6712-4D7D-B91C-9DE062B56D95

Jones, the founder of Dream Corps, spoke about the importance of dismantling oppressive systems and giving everyone access to opportunities like the one Bezos experienced in space.

Dream Corps is an organization that strives to close prisons and open doors of opportunity by bringing people together across racial, social and partisan lines. Its programs focusing on criminal justice reform, building a green economy and creating equity in the technology industry.  

If this small group of people can make miracles happen in outer space, a bigger group of people can make miracles happen down here, and we’re gonna do it,” Jones said.  

https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/van-jones-recognized-with-courage-and-civility-award-from-jeff-bezos–presented-with-100-million-to-gift-to-non-profit-organizations-301337822.html

https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/van-jones-recognized-with-courage-and-civility-award-from-jeff-bezos–presented-with-100-million-to-gift-to-non-profit-organizations-301337822.html

“Uluru Statement from the Heart” winner of the 2021 Sydney Peace Prize

May 26, 2021

On 26 May 2021 the ongoing campaign for First Nations recognition in the Constitution has been awarded Australia’s Sydney Peace Prize.

Proud First Nations leaders and drivers of the Uluru Statement from the Heart, Professor Megan Davis, a Cobble Cobble woman from the Barunggam Nation in South East Queensland; Pat Anderson AO, an Alyawarre woman from the Northern Territory; and Noel Pearson, a Guugu Yimidhirr man from Hopevale on the Cape York Peninsula, jointly welcomed the announcement and will receive the prize together at an official event later in the year.

Delivered in May 2017 at the National Constitutional Convention, the Uluru Statement from the Heart is a ‘historic offering of peace’ that calls for the establishment of a ‘First Nations Voice’ in the Australian Constitution.

Professor Davis, Ms Anderson and Mr Pearson worked tirelessly to deliver the statement in 2017 and have spent the past four years leading the campaign for a referendum to change the constitution. The announcement of their win coincides with National Sorry Day, and marks four years since the Uluru Statement was originally endorsed by First Nations people from across Australia.

The Uluru Statement was the culmination of a dialogue process designed to take agreement and disagreement and elicit a pathway forward on the vital question of recognition,” Professor Davis said.

This is a tribute to the men and women of the dialogues who crafted a roadmap to peace for the nation. We are accepting this prize on behalf of all of the First Nations that participated in the Uluru Dialogues and the National Constitutional Convention at Uluru in 2017.”

Uluru Statement
The Uluru Statement from the Heart.

For more on the Syney Peace Prize and its laureates see: https://www.trueheroesfilms.org/thedigest/awards/7E938842-91DB-A3FD-EDF6-7143BA02216B

https://www.sydney.edu.au/news-opinion/news/2021/05/26/uluru-statement-from-the-heart-wins-2021-sydney-peace-prize.html

https://ulurustatement.org/

2021 Arthur Svensson Prize to Belarusian Congress of Democratic Trade Unions

April 11, 2021
Workers taking part in solidarity rallies. Minsk, 14 August 2020. Photo: АВ / Vot Tak TV / Belsat

Belsat.eu of 9 April 2021 reports that the 2021 Arthur Svensson International Prize for Trade Union Rights has been awarded to the independent trade union movement in Belarus, represented by the Belarusian Congress of Democratic Trade Unions (BKDP) and its affiliates. for ‘their fearless struggle for democracy and fundamental trade union rights in Europe’s last dictatorship’.

For more on this prize see: https://www.trueheroesfilms.org/thedigest/awards/5c06a870-6053-11e9-aa6c-87381bf77969

Belarus is considered one of the worst countries in the world for violating workers’ rights. Human rights organizations have for many years expressed deep concern about the human rights violations in the country; «disappearances», police violence and lack of freedom of expression and association. Despite the Lukashenka regime’s attempts to take control of the independent unions and complicate recruitment, organizing and regular trade union activity, they have never given up and have continued to work for its members,” the awarding committee says.

According to them,the independent trade union movement became central early in the fight against the falsification of the election result and the fight for democracy when the situation in the country significantly deteriorated in the wake of the 2020 presidential election.

svenssonstiftelsen.com

Rwanda’s Divine Ingabire wins local Human Rights Tulip award

December 11, 2020

Nasra Bishumba Nasra Bishumba published in the New Times of Rwanda on 10 December 2020 the story of Rwanda’s Divine Ingabire, the founder and executive director of I Matter, an organisation that seeks to end period poverty and menstrual shame, to become the first Rwandan to win the Human Rights Tulip award.

This is not the international version of the Tulip Award [see: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2020/12/11/armenian-lilit-martirosyan-receives-human-rights-tulip-2020/] but one of the local satellite awards I referred to earlier [see: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2020/12/09/national-level-tulip-award-in-georgia/]

Rwanda’s Divine Ingabire, the founder and executive director of I Matter, an organisation that seeks to end period poverty and menstrual shame, has become the first Rwandan to win the Human Rights Tulip award. The award comes with €5,000 monetary funding that goes to the project. 

The Human Rights Tulip was established by the government of the Netherlands in 2008. Since 2018, selected Dutch embassies have also issued a Human Rights Tulip to a local human rights defender.

At only 23, Ingabire founded I Matter to build and support a community of young and strong women after drawing experiences from a personal story growing up as an orphan and living in poverty.

Receiving the award, Ingabire said that she identified with the struggles of many girls and young women in Rwanda who fail to fully participate in society because of menstruation due their failure to afford the costly sanitary products, lack of enough reproductive health information, and social norms which fuel menstruation shame. “It is indeed a right for every girl and woman to have access to sanitary products as well as sexual reproductive health information. What a journey! This journey can be summarized in these words. Responsibility, acceptance, embracing change and respect for humanity,” she said.

She expressed her gratitude to those who have helped her on the journey to break the silence around menstruation. Ingabire is credited for being some of the organisations that persistently pushed for the removal of Value Added Tax (VAT) levied on sanitary pads, culminating into the legislation that was passed in 2019.

https://www.newtimes.co.rw/news/rwandas-divine-ingabire-wins-human-rights-tulip-award

https://allafrica.com/stories/202012110031.html

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/