Posts Tagged ‘human rights award’

Silvana Meixner winner of Ari Rath Prize for Critical Journalism 2019

April 8, 2019

Vindobona announced on 4 April 2019 that ORF journalist and presenter Silvana Meixner will be awarded the second Ari-Rath Prize for Critical Journalism on 5 May 2019, the Day of Freedom of the Press. This prize was established to honour journalists who have rendered outstanding services to critical reporting on immigration, expulsion and asylum, committed to respect for human rights, in the spirit of the former editor-in-chief of the Jerusalem Post, Ari Rath who died in January 2017. [see https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2018/05/04/world-press-freedom-day-a-good-time-for-honoring-journalists/] For more on this award and 7 other awards for journalists see: http://www.trueheroesfilms.org/thedigest/awards/ari-rath-prize-for-critical-journalism.

Former editor-in-chief of the Jerusalem Post, Ari Rath, who died in January 2017. / Picture: © Wikimedia Commons

Silvana Meixner is the head of the ORF minority editorial office (Minderheitenredaktion) and presenter of the magazine “Heimat Fremde Heimat”. In the spirit of the late Ari Rath, she is honoured as a journalist who has rendered outstanding service in her work to critical reporting on flight, expulsion and asylum, committed to the protection of human rights. Silvana Meixner was born on March 16, 1958 in Split, Croatia; she lives in Vienna since 1986. After graduating from high school, she studied sociology and pedagogy in Zadar. Since 1988 she has been working for the Austrian Broadcasting Corporation (Österreichischer Rundfunk), where she was involved in setting up the minority editorial office. On 3 December 1993 Silvana Meixner, who moderated the television programme Heimat, fremde Heimat together with Lakis Iordanopoulos, was injured by a letter bomb from Franz Fuchs. She continued her journalistic work for refugees, ethnic minorities and human rights.

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https://www.vindobona.org/article/silvana-meixner-receives-ari-rath-prize-for-critical-journalism-2019

Three Saudi human rights defenders honored with PEN/Barbey Freedom to Write Award

March 15, 2019

Nouf Abdulaziz, Loujain al-Hathloul and Eman al-Nafjan have won the PEN/Barbey Freedom to Write Award, the literary and human rights organization announced Thursday. The award was established in 1987 and is given to writers imprisoned for their work, with previous recipients coming from Ukraine, Egypt and Ethiopia among other countries. [for more the award and the change of name in 2015 see: http://www.trueheroesfilms.org/thedigest/awards/freedom-to-write-award-pen]

In custody for working to “undermine the security” of the kingdom, Abdulaziz, Al-Hathloul and Al-Nafjan have openly opposed such government policies as a ban on women driving and the restriction of women’s travel, education and other rights without approval from a male guardian. On Wednesday, al-Hathloul and al-Nafjan were among those at a closed-door hearing in Riyadh, according to Amnesty International. Reporters were not allowed in. [see: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2019/03/13/saudi-arabia-persist-with-trial-for-women-human-rights-defenders/]

The fleeting hope that generational transition in the Saudi leadership would open the door toward greater respect for individual rights and international law has collapsed entirely, with individuals paying the highest price as the government resorts to rank barbarism as a blunt means to suppress and deter dissent,” PEN America CEO Suzanne Nossel said in a statement. “These gutsy women have challenged one of the world’s most notoriously misogynist governments, inspiring the world with their demand to drive, to govern their own lives, and to liberate all Saudi women from a form of medieval bondage that has no place in the 21st century.

PEN officials have not determined who will accept the Freedom to Write Award on behalf of the three winners at the annual PEN gala, being held in Manhattan on May 21. Others receiving prizes — and able to collect them in person — include Bob Woodward of Watergate fame and the CEO of Scholastic, Richard Robinson.

PEN has long highlighted the Freedom to Write Award as a way of turning advocacy into concrete action, noting that 37 of the 43 previous winners have since been freed, at least in part because of the attention raised by the prize. “It helped me to survive while I was in prison,” said the 2016 winner, Ahmed Naji, an author and journalist who had been imprisoned in Egypt and now lives in Washington, D.C. …

Al-Nafjan is a blogger and linguistics professor who has written for The Guardian and CNN among other publications. Al-Hathloul is a prominent opponent of the driving ban, lifted shortly after her arrest last year, and was arrested in 2014 and detained for 73 days. Abdulaziz is a journalist and blogger who has written for years about human rights violations. After her arrest, fellow women’s rights activist Mayya al-Zahrani posted online a letter Abdulaziz had written in case she was captured.

“I usually sum up myself with a few characteristics: a writer, a reading addict since I was six years old, my father tells me that I am intelligent; I am a quiet girl except for the questions that storm my mind,” Abdulaziz wrote. “I will talk to you and share some of the questions that overcome my mind: Why is our homeland so small and tight, and why am I considered a criminal or an enemy that threatens it! I was never but a good citizen that loved her country and wished the best for it, a loving daughter and a hardworking student and a devoted worker, who never demeaned hated or envied anyone.

http://www.startribune.com/3-saudi-women-activists-receive-pen-freedom-to-write-award/507137352/

The Legacy of Martin Ennals: defending the human rights defenders

March 14, 2019

On 6 March 2019 Global Geneva published an article by John Horekens entitledDefending Human Rights Defenders: The Legacy of Martin Ennals”

Can a human rights award make a difference to the plight of victims by drawing public attention to their situation? Or even protect them from being killed or tortured? John Horekens argues that international prizes such as the Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders (MEA) can do just that. And even more. They recognize the courage and resilience of those who have decided to stand up for their rights, and the rights of others, regardless of the consequences.

It contains a short history of the MEA and argues forcefully for its place in Geneva. And has nice pictures!
Abdul Aziz Muhamat on stage in Geneva delivering his acceptance speech. The presentation slide was taken in Manus; on the left of Muhamat (blue T-shirt) is Behrouz Boochani (bare-chested) who was awarded Australia’s Victorian Prize for Literature in January 2019)

 

Abdul Aziz Muhamat, aka QNK002, is a Sudanese refugee currently interned by the Australians on Manus Island detention centre in Papua New Guinea. Standing left, here is at the MEA Award ceremony in Geneva in February, 2019. Arnold Tsunga, right, is a Zimbabwean lawyer and 2006 laureate in 2006 and currently an MEA Board member.

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Martin Ennals in 1978. (Photo: Amnesty International).

It all started in London in 1992 when a group of Martin Ennals’ friends and relatives decided to commemorate the activist’s outstanding contribution to the modern human rights movement in creating this award. A founding member of the Anti-Apartheid Movement and the Secretary-General of the National Council for Civil Liberties, Ennals tirelessly advocated equal rights for all and for the development of global human rights. He created several non-governmental human rights organizations and was the first Secretary-General of Amnesty International (AI). During his tenure, AI was awarded inter alia the Nobel Peace Prize in 1977 and the UN Human Rights Award in 1978.

 

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By 2007, close links had developed with the City of Geneva, leading to an agreement with the local government providing strong multi-year support for the ceremony itself. Its timing was moved in 2019 to February so as to benefit from increased public interest at a time when the Human Rights Council (HRC) prepares for its main session. Created in 2006 by the United Nations General Assembly, the HRC is the UN body responsible for strengthening the promotion and protection of human rights around the world and for addressing situations of human rights violations. It meets in Geneva for three regular sessions every year to discuss thematic human rights issues and situations that require its attention.

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…..For Sandrine Salerno, municipal councillor and the leading proponent of the award within the City government, all this only underlines how deeply Geneva is committed to the defence of fundamental rights. “As a host to most major international organisations active in the human rights area, and with a long tradition of welcoming asylum-seekers, migrants, and people needing protection and assistance, the City of Geneva has made the promotion of human rights one its main international policy priorities.”

On the occasion of the MEA’s 25th anniversary in 2018, leaders of its jury organizations gathered with former laureates, providing an opportunity to discuss the state of human rights and human rights action today. In particular, they addressed issues such as how to influence authoritarians, counter populism, and the means for developing human rights action. “It is not easy to attribute impact to an organization working in the field of human rights”, says Dick Oosting, current Chairman of the Foundation Board. “Awards are only a tool.” But, he adds, “with its jury of ten major NGOs and its partnership with Geneva, the Martin Ennals Award has credibility that can provide real protection. We know this because our laureates and finalists tell us so.” Abdul Aziz Muhamat aka QNK002 on Manus Island can vouch for that.

John Horekens is a former senior official of the United Nations and of the international Red Cross. He is the vice-chairman of the Martin Ennals Foundation Board.

For the full text see: http://www.global-geneva.com/defending-human-rights-defenders-the-legacy-of-martin-ennals/

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FOR MORE ON MARTIN ENNALS: see the biography I wrote for the Encyclopedia of Human Rights, OUP, 2009, Vol 2, pp 135-138 (ed. David P. Forsythe).

70th Anniversary of ACANU: focus on journalists under attack and creation of new human rights award

March 5, 2019

To celebrate its 70th anniversary, the Geneva Association of United Nations Correspondents (ACANU) organised a public lecture, panel discussion and award presentation in partnership with the Graduate Institute and the Club Diplomatique de Genève on “Press Freedom and Journalists Under Attack” on 25 February 2019.

Photo credit: Magali Girardin

The lecture, delivered by António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, addressed issues on the physical attacks and growing number of assaults on the credibility of journalists and media organisations, which are taking a heavy toll on media freedom. It also sought to answer what is spurring the growing hostility and violence and what can be done to protect professional journalists.

Journalists are on the front lines, sounding the first alarm, questioning official accounts, looking into difficult and dangerous issues and – at their best – asking questions that demand an answer and telling truths that must be heard. […] In the face of this sustained campaign of harassment, intimidation and lack of accountability, we – the international community – cannot remain silent. […] I call on Governments and the international community to protect journalists and media workers, and to create the conditions they need to do their essential work, and to investigate and prosecute the perpetrators of attacks on them.

Nina Larson, President of ACANU, then moderated a panel discussion on the situation facing journalists, which included Peggy Hicks, Director Thematic Engagement, Special Procedures and Right to Development Division, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights; Christophe Deloire, Secretary-General, Reporters Without Borders and David Sylvan, Professor, International Relations/Political Science, the Graduate Institute.

During the discussion, Ms Hicks pointed out that “one of the [phenomena] that’s really important for us to look at in this context is the extent to which we have a whole new world of threats in terms of how some of these [attacks] happen online as opposed to offline”. Mr Deloire found that oligarchical control of the media and restrictive laws were like invisible prisons, where “there is no visible victim, there is no blood, no people in jail, but the information can be controlled”. Citing ways that state entities falsely present themselves as independent journalists, Professor Sylvan added that “there are so many alternatives – “fake” or otherwise – to regular news media that the problem now for many journalists is just to try to distinguish what they are doing from the hundreds and hundreds of things that appear similar but are not. So on the one hand, there are many more means – quite apart from physical violence […] of putting sharp restrictions on press freedom, but also there is a much greater demand for this.”

In the final segment of the event, ACANU presented two new international journalism awards, created for the 70th anniversary celebration and to recognise journalists for outstanding work in the face of growing hostility. Jennifer O’Mahony, a British freelancer, was awarded the prize for “Excellence in Reporting” for her article published in The Telegraph: “Algeria dumps thousands of migrants in the Sahara amid EU-funded crackdown”. The ACANU award for “Best Journalistic Coverage of Human Rights” was given to two Geneva journalists, Adrià Budry Carbó of Le Temps and Camille Pagella of L’illustré, for their article, “Piège en haute mer”, published in Le Temps.

For more on this new award and others for the protection of journalists, see: http://www.trueheroesfilms.org/thedigest/awards/acanu-prize-for-reporting-on-human-rights-issues

http://graduateinstitute.ch/home/relations-publiques/news-at-the-institute/news-archives.html/_/news/corporate/2019/press-freedom-and-journalists-un

https://www.unog.ch/unog/website/news_media.nsf/(httpNewsByYear_en)/E955F9CF21E417CDC12583AC006920E4?OpenDocument

http://www.acanu.ch/prize_concept.html

Angela Davis and Birmingham human rights award: reversal reversed…

February 22, 2019

Angela Davis speaks at press conference during the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival, Sept. 10, 2012. (Jemal Countess/Getty Images)

The Jewish Telegraphic Agency reports on 25 January 2019 that Angela Davis will in the end be honored by the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute (Fred Shuttlesworth Human Rights Award), after first rescinding its award to Davis allegedly due in part to complaints from Jewish leaders. [https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2019/01/08/birmingham-civil-rights-institute-in-alabama-rescinds-honor-for-political-activist-angela-davis/]

“This update follows a BCRI Board of Directors January 14 public apology for its missteps in conferring, then rescinding, its nomination of Dr. Angela Y. Davis in early January,” the institute said Friday in a statement.

(Davis wrote that her pro-Palestinian activism was the reason for the original withdrawal, as did Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin. But local Jewish leaders declined to comment, and no concrete evidence emerged that Jewish complaints were the deciding factor. Three BCRI board members resigned over the controversy. On Friday, Richard Friedman, the executive director of the Birmingham Jewish Federation, told JTA he was “digesting the implications” of the reversal. His federation had previously praised the decision to rescind the award.)

Davis also is controversial for declining to speak out on behalf of dissidents in communist-era Europe.

https://www.jta.org/quick-reads/angela-davis-will-get-award-as-birmingham-civil-rights-body-reverses-course-again

Call for nominations MEA 2020 (deadline 26 March 2019)

February 22, 2019

Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders

 CALL FOR NOMINATIONS – 2020 

 

The award aims to recognize individuals, or exceptionally an organisation, who are working in conditions hostile to fundamental human rights, are at risk, and in need of protection. 

For more information on this and other awards for human rights defenders, see: http://www.trueheroesfilms.org/thedigest/awards/martin-ennals-award-for-human-rights-defenders

 

 

 Nominees must be currently active in the promotion and protection of human rights. 

 Nominations are welcome from all regions, genders, and human rights related themes. We take a broad view of what a human rights defender is. Nominations of women are particularly encouraged. 

 Special account is taken of those who combat human rights violations by courageous and innovative means. 

Three finalists are selected and will be announced in October 2019. The laureate is selected from among them, and all three are invited to participate in the ceremony hosted by the City of Geneva, in February 2020. 

Submit a nomination at:  http://www.martinennalsaward.org/nominate-candidate-2020-martin-ennals-award/ 

Deadline: 26 March 2019

Breaking news: MEA 2019 goes to Sudanese refugee activist caught up in Australia’s off-shore detention policy

February 13, 2019

The Jury of the Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders just announced that the 2019 Laureate is Abdul Aziz Muhamat, a Sudanese refugee activist being effectively detained on Manus island in Papua New Guinea as part of Australia‘s controversial policy of deterring arrivals. Read the rest of this entry »

Call for nominations for the L4L award 2019

January 14, 2019

The Lawyers for Lawyers Award aims to honor lawyers who have made significant contributions to the protection of the rule of law and human rights in challenging environments. Former laureates include Alec Muchadehama from Zimbabwe [see: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2011/04/18/alec-muchadehama-zimbabwean-human-rights-defender-honored-in-amsterdam/], Magamed Abubakarov from the Russian Federation [see: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2013/05/21/russian-hrd-magamed-abubakarov-to-receive-lawyers-for-lawyers-award-2013/], Jorge Molano from Colombia [see: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2015/05/15/jorge-molano-from-colombia-laureate-of-2015-lawyers-for-lawyers-award/] and Sirikan Charoensiri from Thailand [see: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2017/02/24/lifetime-achievements-in-human-rights-4-human-rights-defenders]/.

The Lawyers for Lawyers Award will be presented for the fifth time in Amsterdam in May 2019. For more information on this and other awards for human rights lawyers, see: http://www.trueheroesfilms.org/thedigest/awards/lawyers-for-lawyers. An independent jury, chaired by mrs. Heikelien Verrijn Stuart, decides which lawyer will receive the award. The closing date for submission of nominations is 1 March 2019.

NOMINATE NOW!

Daniel Ellsberg wins Sweden’s Olof Palme Prize

January 10, 2019

American whistleblower wins Sweden's Olof Palme Prize
Daniel Ellsberg at a rally in Washington DC in 2010. Photo: AP Photo/Susan Walsh

On 9 January 2019 Swedish news paper The Local reported: “American whistleblower wins Sweden’s Olof Palme Prize“. Daniel Ellsberg, born in 1931, is best known for releasing the Pentagon Papers, a top-secret Pentagon study which revealed that several US administrations had misled the public over the war in Vietnam, to the New York Times. He was charged with espionage and conspiracy, but the charges were later dismissed. “Regardless of such consequences, his decision led to the removal of a mendacious government, a shortening of an illegal war, and an untold number of saved lives,” read a statement by the Olof Palme Foundation. See also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2015/05/27/5-june-stockholm-breakfast-seminar-on-the-importance-of-whistleblowers/

More than four decades later Daniel Ellsberg again takes on the Pentagon’s secret war plans. He warns us of a nuclear holocaust, caused by the refusal of the nine nuclear states to comply with the binding commitment of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons to further the goals of a nuclear-free world.” The Foundation said it will award the prize at a ceremony on January 30th in Stockholm “for his profound humanism and exceptional moral courage”.

For more on this and other awards: http://www.trueheroesfilms.org/thedigest/awards/olof-palme-prize

https://www.thelocal.se/20190109/american-whistleblower-daniel-ellsberg-pentagon-papers-wins-swedens-2018-olof-palme-prize

Call for Nominations Front Line Defenders Award 2019 – priority for LGBTI

December 13, 2018

Front Line Defenders Award.jpg
“We live in dark times. It seems we are assailed daily with fresh atrocities. Welcome to a celebration of the courage of those who bring light and love to our world.” Andrew Anderson, Executive Director

Front Line Defenders is currently accepting nominations for the 2019 Front Line Defenders Award for Human Rights Defenders at Risk. As 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the seminal Stonewall uprising which led to the global movement of LGBT+ Pride marches the 2019 Front Line Defenders Award will prioritise honouring the work of human rights defenders at risk working to defend and advance the rights of the LGBT+ community. [for more on this and other awards for human rights defenders, see: http://trueheroesfilms.org/thedigest/awards/front-line-defenders-award-for-human-rights-defenders-at-risk %5D

If you would like to nominate a HRD working on LGBT+ rights for the 2019 Front Line Defenders Award for Human Rights Defenders at Risk, please follow this link to the secure online nomination form: 2019 Front Line Defenders Award Nomination Form

Please note that the nomination process will remain open until 11:59pm GMT on Friday, 5th January 2019.

For last year’s award: https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/2018-front-line-defenders-award-human-rights-defenders-risk

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https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/front-line-defenders-award