Posts Tagged ‘human rights awards’

Call for Nominations for the 2022 North-South Prize of the Council of Europe

March 18, 2022
Call for Nominations for the 2022 North-South Prize of the Council of Europe.

You can now propose nominations for the 2022 North-South Prize of the Council of Europe. For more on this and similar awards, see: https://www.trueheroesfilms.org/thedigest/awards/8FA97F67-9D63-4D8D-B00D-B260262A61E2

The candidates (activists, personalities or organisations) must have distinguished themselves in the following areas:
 protection of human rights,
 defence of pluralist democracy,
 public awareness raising on issues of global interdependence and solidarity.


Nominations can be submitted through the online form available on the North-South Prize webpage.
The deadline for presenting nominations is 15 September.
The Jury of the North-South Prize, composed by the members of the Bureau of the Executive Committee of the North-South Centre, will meet in the last quarter of 2022 to select this year’s Laureates.

https://www.coe.int/en/web/north-south-centre/-/call-for-nominations-for-the-north-south-prize-2022-


Nominations for Rafto Prize 2022 now open

January 14, 2022
Raftoemblem Test

You can now nominate a candidate for the Rafto Prize, meant for a person or an organization who stands up for human rights and democracy. Annual deadline is 1 February. For more on this award and its laureates, see: https://www.trueheroesfilms.org/thedigest/awards/A5043D5E-68F5-43DF-B84D-C9EF21976B18

  • A candidate should be active in the struggle for the ideals and principles underlying the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
  • A candidate’s struggle for human rights should represent a non-violent perspective.
  • A candidate may be a person or an organization, and two or more candidates may share the prize.

Deadline for nominations: 1 February 2022. Nominations received after 1 February will be taken into consideration for the Rafto Prize the following year.

For questions regarding nominations, please contact the Secretary of the Committee, Liv Unni Stuhaug, e-mail: livunni.stuhaug@rafto.no

Nominate a candidate

Desmond Tutu, human rights champion par excellence, is no more

December 29, 2021

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, who was post-apartheid South Africa’s moral compass and the driver of its troubled reconciliation process, has died. He was 90 years old.

He is the laureate of at least 10 human rights awards: For the complete list, see:

https://www.trueheroesfilms.org/thedigest/laureates/3E4065ED-420D-D94E-ECB1-4A2C91FE3BE6

Andrew Donaldson in News24 of 26 December 2021 published an interesting obituary: A tireless social activist and human rights defender, Tutu not only coined the term “Rainbow Nation” to describe the country’s ethnic diversity but, after the first democratic elections in 1994, went on to become its conscience, using his international profile in campaigns against HIV/Aids, tuberculosis, poverty, racism, xenophobia, sexism, homophobia and transphobia, among others…

His was a powerful, forthright voice, one that irked both the Nationalist government and its successor, the African National Congress and its allies. He was, an activist noted, “given to expressing his opinion in ways that are guaranteed to be outside the realm of comfortable politics”. As Tutu himself put it, in 2007, “I wish I could shut up, but I can’t, and I won’t.“..

Both at home and abroad, Tutu’s opposition to apartheid, which he often likened to Nazism, was vigorous and unequivocal. The Nationalists twice revoked his passport, and he was briefly jailed in 1980 after a protest march. Many felt that his increasing international reputation and his advocacy of non-violence had spared Tutu from more harsh treatment by the government…

He was a born orator and, according to the journalist Simon Hattenstone, “a natural performer [with] his hands and eyes flying all over the place, his voice impassioned and resonant; a tiny ball of love.”

Tutu would often play down such adulation. “I was,” he once said of his reputation, “this man with the big nose and the easy name who personalised the South African situation.”…

Following the Soweto riots in 1976, Tutu became an increasingly vocal supporter of economic sanctions and a vigorous opponent of US president Ronald Reagan’s “constructive engagement” with the Nationalist government.

In 1978, he was appointed general secretary of the SACC, a position he used to further rally support, both local and international, against apartheid. He was just as harsh in his criticism of the violent tactics later used by some anti-apartheid activists, and was unequivocal in his opposition to terrorism and communism.

Tutu’s finest hour came when he chaired the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which was set up to bear witness to, record and in some cases grant amnesty to the perpetrators of apartheid-relation human rights violations, as well as rule on reparation and the rehabilitation of victims…

See also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2013/07/30/desmond-tutu-chooses-hell-over-homophobic-heaven/

He is survived by his wife, four children, seven grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Desmond Tutu was responsible for countless notable quotes throughout his life as an activist and elder. TimesLive (Ernest Mabuza) of 26 December 2021 in “In his own words: Desmond Tutu’s unwavering stance on human rights” published 12 of his best:

https://www.news24.com/news24/Obituaries/obituary-desmond-tutu-tenacious-charismatic-and-a-thorn-in-the-national-party-and-ancs-side-20211226

https://www.timeslive.co.za/news/south-africa/2021-12-26-in-his-own-words-desmond-tutus-unwavering-stance-on-human-rights/

CALL FOR NOMINATIONS – Front Line Defenders 2022 Award for human rights defenders

December 22, 2021

Front Line Defenders is currently accepting nominations for the 2022 Front Line Defenders Award for Human Rights Defenders at Risk

award banner

The annual Front Line Defenders Award was established in 2005. For more on this award and its laureates, see: https://www.trueheroesfilms.org/thedigest/awards/2E90A0F4-6DFE-497B-8C08-56F4E831B47D

In 2021, Front Line Defenders took the decision to name all 5 regional winners as Global Laureates. For each region of the world (Africa; Americas; Asia-Pacific; Europe & Central Asia; and Middle East & North Africa) there will be one winner selected and Front Line Defenders will recognize all five as the 2022 Front Line Defenders Award Laureates.

The nomination process is open for anyone to submit a nomination of a human rights defender, collective, organisation or community working on any human rights issue and facing significant risk due to their work or operating in an environment that itself is characterised as insecure. Winners will receive:

  • a modest financial prize;
  • a security grant to improve their security measures;
  • collaboration with Front Line Defenders for media work in recognition of the Award;
  • advocacy by Front Line Defenders related to the Award and the work of the winners;
  • an event co-organized by the HRD, local partners and Front Line Defenders to give visibility to the Award in the winners’ countries (as determined and guided by the winners);
  • the Global Laureates will attend a ceremony in Dublin at a date to be determined;
  • ongoing security consultation with Front Line Defenders

If you would like to nominate a HRD for the 2022 Front Line Defenders Award for Human Rights Defenders at Risk, please follow this link to the secure online nomination form 2022 Front Line Defenders Award – Nomination Form

Please submit nominations via the online form. If there are any problems using the form, or if you have any questions, please contact: campaigns@frontlinedefenders.org

Last year’s winners of the Front Line Defenders Award, see: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2021/12/14/front-line-defenders-award-for-human-rights-defenders-2021%EF%BF%BC/

https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/call-nominations-2022-front-line-defenders-award-human-rights-defenders-risk

Franco-German Prize for Human Rights 2021

December 17, 2021

Germany and France honoured this year 15 people who have made outstanding contributions to the protection of human rights, campaigning for causes including women’s rights in Afghanistan, the freedom of the press in South Africa and children who are born as a result of rape in wartime.

On 10 December, international Human Rights Day, Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock and French Foreign Minister Jean‑Yves Le Drian presented fifteen people with the Franco-German Prize for Human Rights. This award recognises the efforts of all those who work tirelessly every day to advance the causes of human rights and the rule of law. It is presented decentralised by the French and German missions in various locations around the world.

Chang Weiping a Chinese human rights lawyer.

Jake Epelle who works to combat the ongoing stigmatisation and discrimination faced by people with albinism in Nigeria.

Noelah Godfrey Msuya who promotes the rights of children and women in Tanzania.

Monika Borgmann who is a German-Lebanese documentary-maker.

Jacques Letang who is a judge and lawyer in Haiti.

Cristina Palabay from the Philippines who leads the national association Karapatan.

Alexandrine Victoire Saizonou who is an advocate for women’s and children’s rights in Benin.

Ajna Jusic from Bosnia discovered at the age of 15 that she was born as a result of rape during wartime, and since then she has advocated for others in the same situation.

Erika Lorena Aifán Dávila is a judge who has been the target of constant attacks from the authorities of Guatemala.

Nebahat Akkoc is the Managing Director of the NGO Kamer in Turkey.

The Venezuelan Education-Action Program on Human Rights or PROVEA.

Narges Mohammadi who is spokesperson and vice chairman of the Iranian organisation Defenders of Human Rights Center.

May Sabai Phyu is a Kachin activist from Myanmar/Burma.

Shaharzad Akbar is an Afghan human rights defender who campaigns in particular for the rights of women in Afghanistan.

Tabelo Timse is an investigative journalist and a member of an independent non‑profit media centre in South Africa.

https://www.auswaertiges-amt.de/en/aussenpolitik/themen/menschenrechte/franco-german-prize/2501086

Nicholas Opiyo Laureate of the 2021 Tulip award

December 7, 2021

Ugandan human rights lawyer Nicholas Opiyo was awarded the 2021 Human Rights Tulip. The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs awards the honour, which is accompanied by a cash prize of 100,000 euros to help the recipient continue or expand their work. For more on this award and its laureates, see: https://www.trueheroesfilms.org/thedigest/awards/D749DB0F-1B84-4BE1-938B-0230D4E22144

Opiyo opposed a controversial anti-gay law that included a life sentence for homosexuality. According to the ministry, the human rights defender also played an important role in criminalizing torture in his country. His work often leads to him being accused of criminal violations with no evidence to back up the charges, and he is often closely monitored by security forces. “Human rights activists see the charges against Nicholas as a way to hinder his work as a human rights lawyer. Even in jail, he used his time to talk to prisoners who sought advice,” the ministry stated. [see also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2020/12/23/ugandan-human-rights-defender-nicholas-opiyo-arrested-like-a-criminal/]

His work has made the LGBTI community in Uganda feel stronger, knowing that there are allies who support them,” said caretaker Foreign Minister Ben Knapen.

Opiyo beat out two other finalists for the prize. Nunca Más and Russian lawyer Mari Davtyan. See: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2021/11/22/the-3-nominees-for-the-2021-tulip-are-known/

Last year the Human Rights Tulip went to Lilit Martirosyan [see: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2020/12/11/armenian-lilit-martirosyan-receives-human-rights-tulip-2020/] who said: “Since winning the Human Rights Tulip in 2020 I’ve felt stronger and more protected, knowing that the Dutch government is on my side and that I’m no longer on this journey alone“.

https://nltimes.nl/2021/12/06/ugandan-lawyer-receives-dutch-human-rights-prize

https://chimpreports.com/ugandas-nicholas-opiyo-wins-global-human-rights-award/

Magnitsky Human Rights Award 2021 to Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe detained in Iran

November 21, 2021

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has won an award in London for her bravery, as her detention in Iran continues. The West Hampstead mother received the Courage Under Fire prize at this year’s Magnitsky Human Rights Awards. For more on this award, see: https://www.trueheroesfilms.org/thedigest/awards/48a2fd20-eb63-11e8-a208-f9dcc4e84560

Redress, an NGO campaigning for the return of Nazanin, says the award “recognises the injustice Nazanin has suffered as a pawn of international diplomacy”.

It comes after ended his second hunger strike, this time for 21 days, to try and break the political impasse to bring Nazanin home.  

Nazanin was very pleased to hear of this award, for herself but also for all the others detained in Iran that you don’t get to hear about,” her husband Richard Ratcliffe said. The Iranian regime gets away with terrible crimes that thrive in darkness where accountability should be.” 

He added: “All our family are very proud of this award.”

Since Richard’s hunger strike, Boris Johnson has said it is “worth considering” paying a £400m historic debt to Iran by sending a plane full of cash to Tehran.

Nazanin, 43, mother of a seven-year-old girl, was arrested in Tehran in 2016 after being accused of plotting to overthrow the Iranian government – charges always denied and widely refuted. 

William Browder, head of the Global Magnitsky Justice Campaign, said: “Nobody should ever be put in a situation like this, but in spite of the pressure, she has proven how powerful she can be even in the most powerless situation.  Her hostage takers should understand that their crimes won’t go unpunished.” 

Accepting the “courage under fire” award on her behalf at the event in London on Thursday evening, Gabriella read her mother’s words.

https://www.impartialreporter.com/news/national/19727498.nazanin-zaghari-ratcliffes-daughter-makes-award-speech-behalf/

https://www.hamhigh.co.uk/news/nazanin-zaghari-ratcliffe-wins-bravery-award-8500754

Human Rights Data Analysis Group winner of the 2021 RAFTO prize

September 29, 2021

The 36th Rafto Prize 2021 is awarded to the Human Rights Data Analysis Group (HRDAG) for their work in uncovering large-scale human rights violations. By using statistics and data science, HRDAG document human rights violations that might otherwise go undetected. Their approach has enabled courts to bring perpetrators to justice and given closure to affected victims and their families. For more on th4 RAFTO award and its laureates, see: https://www.trueheroesfilms.org/thedigest/awards/A5043D5E-68F5-43DF-B84D-C9EF21976B18

Statisticians for Human Rights: HRDAG seek to uphold credible information as a foundation of human rights advocacy and justice and by doing so, they represent a new generation of human rights defenders that advances the enforcement of human rights globally.

HRDAG promotes accountability for human rights abuse. Evidence is crucial in demanding accountability and justice. Systematic documentation of human rights violations exposes the scope of transgressions. This is central to putting an end to impunity for perpetrators, and vital for the protection and empowerment of the courageous human rights activists at the frontline.

HRDAG’s rigorous methods and analyses also ensure that every death is counted, and a minimum standard of human dignity is respected. The HRDAG team consists of a small group of dedicated experts in computer science, software development, mathematical and applied statistics, and demography. In their work, HRDAG partner with human rights defenders, experts, and organizations worldwide.

Holding perpetrators to account

Based on the idea that “truth leads to accountability”, HRDAG provides thorough documentation of torture, forced disappearances, kidnappings, war crimes and extrajudicial killings. Perpetrators of human rights abuses often do everything they can to hide their crimes from the public, while victims and their families seek answers and justice.

For example, in collaboration with Amnesty International, HRDAG has documented that 25 % of the deaths in Syrian prisons were unreported. Their researchers have been expert witnesses in the trial of General José Efraín Ríos Montt in Guatemala, who was convicted as the chief perpetrator of genocide against the Maya Ixil indigenous people. They have provided evidence of unusually high death tolls among political prisoners under the rule of former President Hissène Habré in Chad, as well as evidence of ethnic cleansing carried out by Serbian forces and former President Slobodan Milošević in Kosovo.

HRDAG has recently launched a project on underreporting police violence in the United States, where their analysis show that one third of all victims murdered by strangers, are killed by the police.

A new approach

The novelty of HRDAG’s approach lies in their efforts to invent and extend scientific methods from other fields, such as mathematical statistics, machine learning, software engineering, and computer science. They apply these methods to the area of human rights to detect patterns of violence and provide statistical estimates traditional approaches have not been able to deliver. They bring the power of quantitative analysis to the pursuit of justice and accountability. In doing so, they establish scientifically defensible historical records of human rights crimes.

Credible information is key

In an era of misinformation and polarization, credible information is more crucial than ever. The Rafto Prize 2021 aims to highlight the importance of HRDAG and other human right defenders’ work in seeking and upholding the truth as a foundation of human rights advocacy and justice.

The Rafto Prize 2021 is a recognition of HRDAG’s pioneering approach and dedicated commitment to detecting and deterring human rights violators by providing reliable scientific documentation.

The prize sends a firm message to human rights violators, both state and non-state perpetrators, that violations will not go unnoticed.

Award Statement 2021 (ENG)

https://www.rafto.no/news/the-rafto-prize-2021-to-hrdag

Nominees for Václav Havel Human Rights Prize 2021 announced

September 7, 2021

The selection panel of the Václav Havel Human Rights Prize, which rewards outstanding civil society action in the defence of human rights in Europe and beyond, has announced the shortlist for the 2021 Prize. For more on this award and its laureates, see: https://www.trueheroesfilms.org/thedigest/awards/7A8B4A4A-0521-AA58-2BF0-DD1B71A25C8D

Meeting today in Prague, the panel – made up of independent figures from the world of human rights and chaired by Rik Daems, President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) – decided to shortlist the following three nominees, in alphabetical order:

Maria Kalesnikava (Belarus)
The nominee is one of the opposition leaders in Belarus and a member of the Coordination Council. She was the head of the campaign headquarters of former presidential nominee Viktar Barbaryka. She is one of the three female symbols of the Belarusian opposition and its people’s struggle for civil and political liberties and fundamental rights. The nominee was abducted in Minsk in September 2020 and has been detained since then. She was charged with undermining national security. She tore her passport at the border to prevent being removed from Belarus. The nominee is at serious risk for her safety and life. [see: https://www.trueheroesfilms.org/thedigest/laureates/beff3c8d-0e20-4e88-9efb-cdfcb4c26f40]

Reporters Sans Frontières
The nominee is a leading INGO that safeguards the freedom of expression and information. Since 1985, RSF has provided emergency support to thousands of journalists at risk around the world and obtained the release of several detained journalists. RSF systematically takes steps to ensure investigation and legal proceedings against those responsible of the murder of journalists and supports democracy by rolling back disinformation. [see: https://http://www.trueheroesfilms.org/thedigest/laureates/B4EE0687-54AB-9CB3-AD6E-EA1A03C7D73B]

Germain Rukuki (Burundi)
The nominee is a human rights defender who has been campaigning in the human rights field for years (in particular, against torture and the death penalty). Since 2015, human rights defenders and organisations in Burundi have been facing a shrinking space and have been targeted by the authorities. In this context, the nominee was sentenced in 2018 to 32 years in prison in what the international community considered to be a pretext to silence his voice and criminalise his human rights work. Subsequently, a Court of Appeal reduced his sentence to 1 year in 2021 and he was released. See: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2021/07/03/germain-rukuki-burundi-human-rights-defender-out-of-jail/

I would like to thank all those who put forward nominations for the 2021 Prize,” said PACE President Rik Daems. “Fundamental rights and freedoms must be defended and preserved with strength and vigilance. They can never be taken for granted and it takes a lot of courage and determination to uphold them. The three selected candidates’ commitment to the values which were dear to Vaclav Havel and which Council of Europe stands for deserves our appreciation and recognition.

https://pace.coe.int/en/pages/havelprize

Mubarak Bala wins Humanist International 2021 Freedom of Thought Award

August 27, 2021

In recognition of his efforts and contributions to promote humanist values in Nigeria, the General Assembly of Humanists International awarded Mubarak Bala with the 2021 Freedom of Thought Award during its General Assembly. See also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2021/04/29/un-experts-demand-release-of-nigerian-atheist-from-one-year-detention/

Born in Kano state, northern Nigeria, in 1984 and a chemical engineer by training, Mubarak Bala is a prominent member of the Humanist movement. As President of the Humanist Association of Nigeria, he has played a vital role in the Humanist community in Nigeria.

Bala has been working to promote freedom of religion or belief in Nigeria and has been an outspoken religious critic in the conservative northern region, where open religious opposition is unusual. He has campaigned for the decriminalization of apostasy and blasphemy laws in states that implement Sharia in northern Nigeria. In addition he has engaged in human rights education and raised awareness on the importance of freedom of thought and conscience to peace, progress and stability in the region. He has organized meetings and conferences to enlighten the local populace especially those inclined to religious extremism and radical Islam due to indoctrination, lack of understanding or misinformation about freedom of religion or belief.

Bala has been held in detention since his arrest on 28 April 2020. Held for 15 months without any charge, Bala now faces charges of public disturbance in connection with Facebook posts deemed “blasphemous” he is alleged to have published in April 2020. In addition to being arbitrarily detained for 15 months, there have been several other violations of his rights to a fair trial, which include denying Bala access to his legal counsel until October 2020, failing to comply with a Federal High Court order to release Bala on bail, and consistent attempts to obstruct Bala’s legal team.

Andrew Copson, President of Humanists International, commented: “Mubarak Bala is an honorable humanist who has experienced great hardship and persecution in his realization of a life lived true to his values. Today he is a prisoner of conscience, whose thoughts are freer than he himself.”

The award was accepted on his behalf by his wife Amina Ahmed during the General Assembly of Humanists International on 15 August, commenting the award with these words:

On behalf of my husband Mubarak Bala, I really want to thank humanists all over the world for this wonderful honour. This award has really shown that the world still cares for Mubarak, and that Mubarak has not been forgotten. This is to show that humanity is above all regardless of religion and belief. I thank Humanists International for your utmost support and care for Mubarak’s family. We don’t know how to thank you enough, all I can say is thanks a zillion! And I know this is indeed a phase which will come to pass soon. I also want to thank the Humanists Association of Nigeria who has struggled these past months for Mubarak’s release. You have all really shown so much love and care for Mubarak and we really appreciate it.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/apr/05/nigerian-humanist-mubarak-bala-receives-24-year-jail-sentence