Posts Tagged ‘digest of human rights awards’

2020 Allard Prize for International Integrity to Daphne Caruana Galizia and Danish whistleblower

October 22, 2020

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On 21 October 2020 assassinated Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia was posthumously awarded the 2020 Allard Prize for International Integrity, a prestigious global prize for people who demonstrate exceptional leadership and courage in protecting human rights. For more on this prize see: https://www.trueheroesfilms.org/thedigest/award/1f084460-a5ea-11e7-8132-af7bdbf76e65

Caruana Galizia was co-awarded the prize last night along with Howard Wilkinson, the man who blew the whistle on the Danske Bank money laundering scandal.

Both Caruana Galizia and Wilkinson were awarded $50,000 prizes and the assassinated journalist’s family has dedicated their prize money to the Daphne Caruana Galizia Foundation.Andrew Caruana Galizia virtually accepts the prize on his late mother's behalf

Andrew Caruana Galizia virtually accepts the prize on his late mother’s behalf

Virtually accepting the prize on his late mother’s behalf, Andrew Caruana Galizia said that such prizes shouldn’t be viewed as frivolous but crucial in ensuring the fight for justice lives on. “We know there’s a connection between remembering and justice. If we forget the people who were murdered, the human rights activists and journalists who lost their lives fighting for our right to know, to live in a democracy and enjoy other rights, then no one will remember to fight for justice.

See also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2019/02/26/son-of-maltese-journalist-daphne-caruana-galizia-tells-un-impunity-continues/

Co-winner Howard Wilkinson blew the whistle on the largest money laundering scheme in history, worth at least $230 billion, while acting as the head of Danske Bank’s trading unit in the Baltics. On September 19, 2018, news broke of the money laundering scheme that moved rubles out of Russia, converted them to dollars at the Estonian branch of Danske Bank, and then moved the dollars to New York with the assistance of three correspondent banks (Bank of America, J.P Morgan, and Deutsche Bank). Danske Bank admitted all of its internal controls designed to prevent money laundering had failed. The bank revealed that the scheme had been reported to the bank’s highest levels by a whistleblower over four years before. The whistleblower’s identity was required to be secret. But it took only days for Wilkinson’s name to leak out.

The Allard Prize website states: “Despite the considerable risk to himself and his family, Wilkinson testified before the European Parliament and advocated for greater protections for whistleblowers and a new regulation model that encourages greater transparency. The scandal led to numerous investigations and criminal charges across Europe, Danske’s CEO’s resignation, and Danske’s Estonian branch’s closing.

When accepting the award, Wilkinson said, “Whistleblowers are the most loyal employees at all. The whole point of whistleblowers is to make things better.

Wilkinson was profiled by Whistleblower News Network as its “Whistleblower of the Week” weekly feature on October 19. 

https://lovinmalta.com/news/humbling-and-encouraging-daphne-caruana-galizia-wins-prestigious-global-integrity-award/

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/

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

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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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

The Human Rights Foundation announces three recipients of the 2020 Václav Havel International Prize for Creative Dissent. 

September 18, 2020

On 17 September 2020 the Human Rights Foundation announced the three recipients of the 2020 Václav Havel International Prize for Creative Dissent. 

The 2020 Havel laureates are Chinese visual artist Badiucao, Saudi political satirist Omar Abdulaziz, and the late Rwandan gospel musician and peace and reconciliation activist Kizito Mihigo, who is the first posthumous recipient since the inception of the prize in 2012. This year’s laureates will receive their awards at 11:45 a.m. EDT on Friday, 25 September, during the 2020 Oslo Freedom Forum.

Badiucao is an exiled Chinese dissident artist based in Australia. His political artwork has unmasked the lies of the Chinese regime, raised awareness for pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, and exposed the Chinese Communist Party’s censorship of the coronavirus pandemic. Badiucao is the creator of the Lennon Flag, which became a powerful protest symbol that inspired and mobilized the global community to stand in solidarity with Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement. The Chinese regime has tried to silence Badiucao by intimidating his family in China.

Omar Abdulaziz is an exiled Saudi political satirist and activist based in Canada. His satirical news show on YouTube has uncovered the lies of the Saudi regime. His activism has raised awareness about ongoing repression and human rights abuses in the kingdom, where freedom of expression is nonexistent and political satire is a crime. The Saudi regime has tried to silence his activism by intimidating his family, offering bribes, and making him a target of surveillance.

Kizito Mihigo was a Rwandan catholic gospel singer, songwriter, organist, and the founder of the Kizito Mihigo Peace Foundation, which promoted peace, reconciliation, and nonviolence in schools and prisons through concerts, plays, and poetry. An ethnic Tutsi, he showed tremendous courage in a 2014 song in which he called for compassion for all civilians killed by Paul Kagame’s Tutsi-dominated ruling Rwandan Patriotric Front forces after Rwanda’s 1994 genocide. The regime quickly banned the song as it contradicted its official narrative, which presents ethnic Tutsis as the sole victims of Rwanda’s tragedy. Mihigo released the song with full knowledge that it would lead to terrible consequences. “The message is sometimes more important than the messenger,” he said. He was detained in order to be paraded as a conspirator in a violent anti-government plot and sentenced to 10 years in prison. He was released on pardon after serving three years, but he was arrested again while attempting to leave the country and died in police custody in February 2020. The regime claimed it was a suicide, but Mihigo told friends weeks before his death that he had been under government harassment and pressure to provide false testimony against political opponents.

For more information on the award: https://thedigestapp-public.trueheroesfilms.org/award/438F3F5D-2CC8-914C-E104-CE20A25F0726

for last year, see: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2019/05/27/anti-junta-rap-group-awarded-the-vaclav-havel-prize-for-creative-dissent/

https://mailchi.mp/5abc37c73aa7/2020-oslo-freedom-forum-program-details-sep-24-287847?e=f80cec329e

Fartuun Adan and Ilwad Elman from Somalia named 2020 Aurora Prize winners

September 17, 2020

Fartuun Adan and Ilwad Elman from Somalia named 2020 Aurora Prize Laureates

On 17 September 2020 it was announced that fifth annual Aurora Prize for Awakening Humanity went to Fartuun Adan and Ilwad Elman, the mother and daughter team who lead the Elman Peace and Human Rights Centre in Somalia. [for more on this and other humanitarian awards see: https://thedigestapp-public.trueheroesfilms.org/award/35D4B5E3-D290-5DF9-08E1-14E6B3012FFA]. Fartuun Adan and Ilwad Elman have selected three organizations for share the 1,000,000 prize money: – Love Does, Panzi Foundation, and Prajwala – that fight for freedom and human rights, provide healthcare to marginalized populations, and save victims of sex-trafficking to be the beneficiaries of their million dollar prize.Fartuun Adan and Ilwad Elman were chosen among the 2020 Aurora Humanitarians, or finalists, announced on April 24, 2020. Besides the Somali human rights defenders, these outstanding heroes include Congolese activist Angélique Namaika, refugee rescuers Sophie Beau and Klaus Vogel, and educator Sakena Yacoobi from Afghanistan..Fartuun Adan and Ilwad Elman have been protecting women’s rights, promoting peacebuilding, and rehabilitating child soldiers for many years. Their courage, resilience, and unwavering commitment to the people of Somalia has brought this mother and daughter team global recognition.

“Fartuun Adan and Ilwad Elman embody the spirit of the Aurora Prize and our philosophy of Gratitude in Action, and we are delighted with this opportunity to express our deepest admiration and appreciation to them for the amazing work they are doing in Somalia. They give people a second chance, hope for the future, and inspiration to lead a meaningful life. Their courage, self-sacrifice, altruism, idealism, as well as actions on the ground reflect the values of the global Aurora movement,” noted Vartan Gregorian, President of Carnegie Corporation of New York, Co-Founder of the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative, and Member of the Selection Committee.Previous Aurora Prize Laureates include Burundian activist Marguerite Barankitse (2016), American physician and missionary Dr. Tom Catena (2017), Rohingya human rights campaigner Kyaw Hla Aung (2018) and Yazidi activist Mirza Dinnayi (2019).

See also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2014/11/12/friedrich-ebert-award-goes-to-fartuun-adan-from-somalia/

https://armenpress.am/eng/news/1027947.html

Osman Kavala and Mozn Hassan receive 2020 International Hrant Dink Award

September 16, 2020

The twelfth International Hrant Dink Award was presented on Tuesday, September 15th by an online ceremony. This year’s awards were granted to Osman Kavala who devoted his life to building a pluralistic and democratic society  and showed that human rights and social dialogue can be strengthened through culture [see also; https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2020/01/29/turkey-defies-european-court-on-kavala-and-undergoes-upr-review/] and art and Mozn Hassan [see also; https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2017/02/02/right-livelihood-has-to-go-to-egypt-to-hand-mozn-hassan-her-2016-award/]one of the pioneers of the feminist movement across the Middle East and North Africa, struggling against sexual violence and womens rights violations in Egypt.

The award ceremony was hosted by Şebnem Bozoklu and Alican Yücesoy in Turkish, and also by Ece Dizdar in English languages. Moreover, people and institutions from Turkey and all around the world, who shed light to humanity with their struggles are acknowledged as the ‘Inspirations’ of 2020. Among the Inspirations of this year, there human and women’s rights defenders from Turkey to Chile, Indonesia to Lebanon, Germany to the United States, India to China, as well as inspirational individuals and initiatives with their demands for peace, equal citizenship, democracy and justice.

At the ceremony, Rakel Dink sang one of the favorite songs of her husband Hrant Dink at Surp Toros Armenian Church in Tekirdağ Malkara, which is awaiting restoration. The night ended with the song “Son Dakika Golü” (Last Minute Goal) by Arto Tunçboyacıyan composed specially for the ceremony.

For more on the International Hrant Dink Award : http://www.trueheroesfilms.org/thedigest/awards/hrant-dink-award

Osman Kavala and Mozn Hassan receive 2020 International Hrant Dink Award

German Judges give their human rights award to Iranian human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh

September 6, 2020

Radio Farda reported that the German Judges Association (DRB) has awarded its Human Rights Prize to the Iranian human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh who is currently on a hunger strike in an Iranian prison in protest to the conditions of political prisoners. For more information on this and other awards see: http://www.trueheroesfilms.org/thedigest/awards/german-association-of-judges-human-rights-award

Nasrin Sotoudeh has become a symbol of the Iranian civil rights movement through her courage and tireless commitment to human rights and the rule of law,” the presidents of the German Judges Association said on Wednesday. Barbara Stockinger and Joachim Lüblinghoff stated that now more than ever, Ms. Sotoudeh needs wide international support, and that they wanted to honor her “highly impressive commitment in Iran and to bring her fate to the public attention”.

The 57-year-old lawyer and rights activist began a hunger strike at Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison on August 11 to protest the “unfair” and “illegal” conditions of political prisoners in Iran. She has demanded the release of political prisoners to protect them from the spread of coronavirus in prisons.

See also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2020/06/24/list-of-lawyers-imprisoned-in-iran-for-defending-human-rights/. Iranian authorities have freed tens of thousands of prisoners since the breakout of the coronavirus pandemic in the country, but have refused to grant furlough to political prisoners and other prisoners of conscience, including Sotoudeh.

Sotoudeh, an international award-winning lawyer and rights activist, was been sentenced to a total of 33 years in prison and 148 lashes on several charges, including conspiracy against national security, spreading lies and disturbing public opinion.

Earlier this year, Sotoudeh went on a hunger strike to protest the maltreatment of political prisoners vulnerable to the coronavirus pandemic. She previously staged a 49-day hunger strike in prison in 2012 while she was serving another sentence for her human rights work. On Wednesday, Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde expressed deep concern about Sotoudeh’s health and said she wanted to reiterate the EU’s call for her sentence to be reviewed. In a statement on August 28, the American PEN association called for the immediate release of Sotoudeh and other political prisoners, as well as an end to judicial and legal harassment of her and her family.