Posts Tagged ‘human rights awards’

Tang Prize recipients in rule of law category make clear the challenges they face

September 21, 2020

On 21 September 2020 William Yen reported in Taiwan Focus on the Tang Prize 2020. Three NGOs that have won the 2020 Tang Prize for their significant contributions to the rule of law participated on-line in the Tang Prize Masters’ Forum in Rule of Law, organized by the Tang Prize Foundation and National Taiwan University’s College of Law. [see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tang_Prize]
See also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2016/06/22/2016-tang-prizes-to-louise-arbour-and-us-sinologist/
They are:
  • The Bangladesh Environment Lawyers Association (BELA),
  • The Colombian Dejusticia: The Center for Law, Justice and Society, and
  • The Legal Agenda, Lebanon.
Syeda Rizwana Hasan, chief executive of BELA, which promotes environmental justice and works toward sound environmental jurisprudence, said :”Corporate interests often take over public interests and the state loses its entity as a regulator and sides so much with the corporation that you can’t really differentiate which one is the state and which one is the corporation,”. This greatly impacts NGOs, as 430 environmental human rights defenders in Bangladesh were killed last year because they were fighting against mining projects or defending the rights of indigenous communities, Hasan said. See also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2014/04/27/abu-bakar-siddique-released-but-worries-remain-for-human-rights-defenders-in-bangladesh/Authoritarian regimes are increasingly branding NGOs as foreign agents, enemies of the state and anti-development elements. They are trying to criminalize our entity and our functioning, they are trying to seize powers so they can assess our performances and delicense us if we go against their developmental narratives,” Hasan said.

Rodrigo Uprimny Yepes, co-founder of Dejusticia, which aims to strengthen the rule of law on issues such as discrimination against race and gender, said the challenges his organization, like many other NGOs will face in the future, will be the question of how to obtain financial sustainability without losing independence.

Samer Ghamroun, co-founder and current board member of The Legal Agenda, which focuses on promoting the independence of the judiciary and defending the rights of vulnerable groups, said that while religious equality is guaranteed in Lebanon, many other individual rights are sacrificed. “So religious equality coexists with social economic inequalities, huge social economical inquiries and lack of respect for individual rights,” Ghamroun said.

Yeh Jiunn-rong a professor at National Taiwan University, chair of the Tang Prize selection committee for the rule of law and moderator of the forum, expressed his gratitude for the organizations in sharing with Taiwan and the world their activisms and values. “Thank you very much to the representatives of these three laureates for the 2020 Tang Prize for Rule of Law,”.

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

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. 

Chinese sensitivity again on display re human rights awards

August 29, 2020

Kunal Gaurav in Republic World of 29 August 2020 illustrates again how extremely sensitive China remains with regard to human rights awards, unwittingly underlining the strong symbolic value they can have.

China

China has warned Norway against awarding Nobel Peace Prize to pro-democracy activists of Hong Kong, saying it doesn’t want to see the politicisation of the award. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi was on a rare visit to Norway as the country prepares to take up the rotational seat of United Nations Security Council, of which China is a permanent member, for 2021-22.

“I would only say one thing: In the past, today, and in future, China will firmly reject any attempt by anyone to use the Nobel Peace Prize to interfere in China’s internal affairs,” Wang told reporters when asked about the possibility.

The decision to award the Nobel Peace Prize to Dalai Lama, head monk of Tibetan Buddhism, for his willingness to compromise and seek reconciliation despite brutal violations had irked China. Later, the Nobel Foundation awarded the prize to Lui Xiaobo for his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China. The decision immediately froze diplomatic relations between Norway and China, which resumed in December 2016.

Hong Kong has been the epicentre of pro-democracy protests and China enforced a controversial security law which has allegedly undermined the autonomy of the region. Several countries have revoked the extradition treaty with the semi-autonomous region, calling the draconian law as a flagrant violation of Sino-British agreement after which the city returned to Chinese rule.

According to a Hong Kong daily, the foreign minister said that the Chinese government doesn’t want to see anyone politicise the Nobel Peace Prize. Calling on Norway to cherish the current relationship, Wang said that the bilateral relationship can continue to develop in a sustained and sound manner if both parties can “continue to respect each other and treat each other as equals.”

At a press briefing on August 28, Norwegian Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Søreide said that the leaders had an extensive discussion ranging from COVID-19 response to international trade and the free-trade agreement. She said that they also had extensive discussions on human rights, an issue of international concern given China’s history and ongoing crackdown in Xinjiang.

https://www.republicworld.com/world-news/china/china-warns-norway-against-awarding-nobel-peace-prize-to-hong-kong-act.html

Call for Nominations for the Gwangju Prize for Human Rights 2021

August 13, 2020

 Gwangju Prize for Human Rights 2021

The May 18 Memorial Foundation announces the call for 2021 nominations for the following Prizes:

1) The Gwangju Prize for Human Rights (GPHR): It carries a cash award of $ 50,000 USD.

2) The Special Prize of the GPHR (SPGPHR): It carries a cash award of $ 10,000 USD.

For more about these awards, see: http://www.trueheroesfilms.org/thedigest/awards/gwangju-prize-for-human-rights

A nomination for the GPHR can be submitted by any individual or organization who meets the nomination criteria. Any nomination is considered valid if it is submitted by a person or an organization that falls within one of the following categories:

1) Individuals or organizations who won the May 18 Citizens Award and/or YunSang-won Award

2) Laureates of Gwangju Prize for Human Rights

3) Organizations in Korea or overseas working for human rights, peace, and the reunification of Korea that have been active three years or more and that the May 18 Memorial Foundation Directorate decides to request their nomination

4) Any individual or organization in Korea or overseas that agrees on the purpose of the GPHR

The May 18 Memorial Foundation is responsible for the selection of eligible candidates and the choice of the GPHR. The selection committee is composed of seven members who are designated by the May 18 Memorial Foundation’s Articles of Association. The rest of the procedure will abide by the Articles of Association.

Deadline: 30 September, 2020.

See also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2019/05/19/gwangju-human-rights-award-2019-to-philippine-carino-and-indonesian-choir/

http://e-pao.net/epSubPageExtractor.asp?src=announcements.Ann_2020.Call_for_Nomination_Gwangju_Prize_for_Human_Right_2021

RFK’s Ripple of Hope Award 2020 to Kaepernick, Fauci and other US leaders

July 29, 2020

Former NFL star Colin Kaepernick [see also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2018/04/22/colin-kaepernick-receives-amnesty-internationals-ambassador-of-conscience-award/] and Anthony Fauci, the country’s leading infectious disease expert, are slated to be among this year’s recipients of the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Ripple of Hope Award.

Other leaders to receive the award this year include Dolores Huerta, founder and president of the Dolores Huerta Foundation and co-founder of United Farm Workers of America; Dan Schulman, president and chief executive officer of PayPal; and Dan Springer, chief executive officer of DocuSign.

At a time when the courageous pursuit of equality and justice has become political and riddled with adversity, Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights stands with these modern-day human rights defenders in their inspirational fight for progress,” the organization said in an announcement on Monday

Past recipients of this award – which seems to be mostly a national award (not the same as the international Robert F Kennedy Human Rights award [see: http://www.trueheroesfilms.org/thedigest/awards/robert-f-kennedy-human-rights-award]- include former President Obama, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and current presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.

https://www.theblaze.com/news/colin-kaepernick-dr-anthony-fauci-set-to-receive-robert-f-kennedy-human-rights-ripple-of-hope-award

https://thehill.com/blogs/in-the-know/in-the-know/509237-kaepernick-fauci-to-receive-robert-f-kennedy-human-rights-award

Martin Ennals Award 2021 Nominations: deadline approaching

June 8, 2020

Nominations for the Martin Ennals Award 2021 are currently accepted. The deadline for nominations is June 12th 2020. Please forward this message to whomever you can.

The Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders honours individuals and organizations who have shown exceptional commitment to defending human rights, despite the risks involved, and who are in need of protection. [see also: http://www.trueheroesfilms.org/thedigest/awards/martin-ennals-award-for-human-rights-defenders]

In addition to the achievements of the nominee, several criteria are taken into consideration for the Award:

• Nominees must be currently active in the promotion and protection of human rights. The Award does not consider defenders who are deceased.

• The nominee should not employ or advocate violence.

• Self -nominations are not accepted.

• Defenders who are no longer in need of protection (e.g. because they are now in a safe environment) will normally not be considered.

Three finalists will be selected by the Jury and announced in October/November 2020. The Laureate will be announced in February 2021.

To submit a candidate use the form

Huda Al-Sarari is the laureate of the 2020 Martin Ennals Award for human rights defenders

February 22, 2020

On 19 February 2020 the Martin Ennals Foundation announced that is has granted Huda Al-Sarari, Yemeni lawyer and human rights defender, the 2020 Martin Ennals Award. Huda was among three women human rights defenders selected as finalists for the Award by a jury of ten of the world’s leading human rights organizations, along with Sizani Ngubane, South Africa, and Norma Librada Ledezma, Mexico. [see https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2019/11/26/breaking-news-mea-has-3-women-hrds-as-finalists-for-2020/]

The 2020 Martin Ennals Award ceremony, co-hosted with the City of Geneva, was held on Wednesday 19 February, and for the first time in the history of the Award, all three finalists are women. “Women human rights defenders (WHRDs) are subject to the same risks as every human rights defender, but as women, they also face certain forms of violence and violations due to their gender. WHRDs are often stigmatized and ostracized by community leaders, faith-based groups and even family members”, said the Mayor of the City of Geneva, Sandrine Salerno.

Huda Al-Sarari is a Yemeni lawyer and human rights defender who graduated from Aden University. She also holds a masters in Women’s Studies and Development from the Women’s Centre at Aden University. Since 2015, Huda investigated, exposed and challenged the enforced disappearances that occurred as a result of secret prisons run by foreign governments in Southern Yemen where thousands of men and boys have suffered from arbitrary detention, torture and extrajudicial killings. She collected evidence on more than 250 cases of the abuse taking place within those prisons and succeeded in convincing international organisations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch to take up the cause. “Being a human rights defender in Yemen is extremely challenging, and being a woman makes this even more difficult. In a male-dominated society, I have to prove myself maybe ten times more than a man”, explains Huda. Despite the threats, defamation campaigns and sacrifices she and her family endured, Huda continues to stand alongside the families of those who have disappeared.

Receiving the 2020 Martin Ennals Award for human rights defenders means the world to me. It gives me great strength and emboldens me to continue this fight for justice”, she says. “I believe the Award will be incredibly important in drawing attention to the continual plight of victims of arbitrary detention, abuse and torture in Yemen”, she concluded.

As Chair of the Martin Ennals Award Jury, I myself added that “We commend Huda for the work that she conducted, not only against the backdrop of the ongoing Yemeni civil war, but also, in a country where women still struggle to express their political and civil rights. Huda’s legacy is crucial as her thorough investigations and search for accountability will serve to bring justice for human rights violations occurred during the conflict.

For more on this and other awards for human rights defenders see: http://www.trueheroesfilms.org/thedigest/awards/martin-ennals-award-for-human-rights-defenders. The Martin Ennals Jury is composed of 10 of the world’s leading human rights organisations. See: https://www.martinennalsaward.org/about-us-about-the-martin-ennals-award/

Malala Yousafzai, a lot more awards than the UN thinks

January 13, 2020

On 27 Pakistani human rights defender Malala Yousafzai has been declared as “the most famous teenager in the world” by the United Nations in the ‘Decade in Review‘ report of the UN. In recognition of her efforts for children’s rights which started before she was shot in the head by Taliban militants, Malala Yousafzai became the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014. According to the UN review reportThe attack made waves around the world and was widely condemned. On Human Rights Day that year, a special tribute to Malala was held at the Paris headquarters of UNESCO, pushing for action to ensure every girl’s right to go to school, and to advance girls’ education as an urgent priority,”.

Malala’s activism and profile have only grown since the assassination attempt. She won several high-profile awards, including the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize (alongside Indian social reformer Kailash Satyarthi), and became a UN Messenger of Peace in 2017, with a special focus on girls’ education,” the report added. Recently the 22-year-old was also chosen by Teen Vogue as its cover person for its last issue of the decade.

Just to make sure the record is correct, Malala has in fact received at least the following 10 awards:

2013   Vital Voices Global Leadership Awards

2013   Index on Censorship Awards

2013   Simone de Beauvoir Prize

2013   Tipperary Peace Prize

2013   Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought

2013   Ambassador of Conscience Award

2013   Anna Politkovskaya Award

2014   Franklin Roosevelt Four Freedoms Award

2014   Nobel Peace Prize

2014   Liberty Medal

https://news.un.org/en/story/2019/12/1053481

 

Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai declared as “the most famous teenager in the world”: UN