Posts Tagged ‘Harry Wu’

First MEA Laureate, Harry Wu from China, dies at age of 79

April 27, 2016

While waiting for the breaking news of who will be the Final Nominees of the 2016 Martin Ennals Award (in 2 hours) I received the sad news that the first winner of the MEA in 1994, Chinese human rights defender Harry Wu has died at the age of 79.

1994 march Harry Wu first MEA Laureate






Harry Wu at the official award dinner in March 1994

His short bio and a film on his work can be viewed at:

Simia Ahmadi; defending the defenders

October 7, 2013

This blog tends to prioritize news on human rights defenders who are in trouble. This makes one overlook perhaps too often the contribution made by those who are working for the cause in other ways. To rectify I want to pay tribute to another woman who has  contributed enormously to the creation and growth of the Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders: Simia Ahmadi. After 20 years she is leaving the Board of the Foundation on 7 October, just before the 20th ceremony tomorrow.

In 1992 Simia was a young, upcoming human rights worker who had just finished an internship with the UN. To her great regret she never met Martin Ennals in person. Her main motivation was that an award could be effective and volunteered to help it being set up. After successful initial fundraising she was the part-time Secretariat in the first year.

1994 march Harry Wu first MEA Laureate

(Simia, left of first Laureate Harry Wu in 1994, Geneva)

After that, she worked several years for the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH). Thereafter she was Programme Coordinator of the Legal and Human Rights Centre in Tanzania and from 2006-2009 she served as FIDH’s Representative to the UN in Geneva. After her move to Kenya in 2010, she served as the Chief of Party of the Public International Law and Policy Group in Kenya. Now she devoting her considerable energy to Kahesa, of which she is the Director-Founder and undertakes consultancy work such as evaluations KAHESA is a social enterprise that produces decorative and environmentally-sound paper through the employment of mentally-challenged Kenyans. Check out her and Facebook page: Kahesa paper

For being at the cradle of the MEA and making sure that the there is no grave for long time she deserve the deepest thanks from all especially Human Rights Defenders around the MEA_logo with text