Every year, the Martin Ennals Foundation, based in Geneva, Switzerland, gives out an award that is regarded as the Nobel Prize for human rights defenders.
Winners of Martin Ennals Award 2022
- The recipients of this year’s awards include Daouda Diallo from Burkina Faso, Pham Doan Trang from Vietnam and Abdul-Hadi Al-Khawaja of Bahrain.
- In a special move, the Martin Ennals Foundation decided to posthumously pay homage to Father Stan Swamy, a Jesuit priest and tribal rights activist from Jharkhand who had been arrested in the Bhima Koregaon case and passed away in July 2021 at the age of 84.
- Diallo has been described as “a fearless activist who documents human rights abuses committed in the crossfires of Burkina Faso’s violent conflict”.
- Meanwhile, one of Vietnam’s top journalists, Trang has been a vociferous defender of freedom of expression, and Khawaja is a “champion of human rights and justice who has galvanised a new generation of activists in the Gulf region”.
Who was Martin Ennals?
- Ennals was a British activist who spent his life working to secure human rights across the world.
- He was Secretary-General of Amnesty International from 1968 to 1980.
- Ennals also co-founded several organisations, such as Article 19, International Alert and Huridocs and formed “the binding force between them”.
- In his memory, the Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders is given to “individuals and organisations that have shown exceptional commitment to defending and promoting human rights, despite the risks involved”.
Why is the foundation paying tribute to Father Stan Swamy?
- Father Stan was nominated for the Award in spring 2021, but he sadly passed away before it could reach him. The jury wished to shine a light on Father Stan’s many contributions to human rights, which cannot be eclipsed by his unjust incarceration by Indian authorities.
- Swamy worked closely with Adivasi communities to safeguard their land, forest and labour rights.
- He is best known for taking legal action for the protection of young Adivasis who had been arrested and labelled “Naxals” by various intelligence agencies.
What is the intention of the award?
- According to the Martin Ennals Foundation, the award “strives to provide human rights defenders with much needed protection, raising their public profile and gathering international support for their work”.
- More than 60 defenders from 34 countries are associated with the award at present.
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