Among them is an imprisoned Arab.. Activists win one of the most prestigious human rights awards for their bravery

Yesterday, Wednesday, a number of human rights activists, including an Arab, won one of the most prestigious human rights awards in honor of their courage and their “catalytic” role in the human rights movement.

The Martin Ennals Prize, named after the former Secretary-General of Amnesty International, was jointly awarded by Bahraini activist Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja and Vietnamese journalist Pam Duan Trang – both in prison – and Daouda Diallo, who documents abuses in Burkina Faso.

Jury member Hans Tolen said, “The panel nominated 3 human rights activists. Courage is their common denominator.”

Al-Khawaja was one of the first initiators of the human rights movement in Bahrain, and he is a leader in the movement for greater freedoms and democracy in the Gulf region. He was imprisoned in 2011 and declared hunger strikes to demand the rights of detainees.

He was sentenced to “life imprisonment for organizing peaceful protests that incited the authorities to respect human rights. His determination, courage and steadfastness are moving,” according to committee member Guadalupe Marengo of Amnesty International.

Pam Duan Trang, a prominent Vietnamese writer and advocate for press freedom and civil rights, was arrested in October 2020, and concerns are mounting for her health.

Committee member Phil Robertson of Human Rights Watch said the Vietnamese writer “has been a catalyst for many other activists and journalists in Vietnam, where freedom of expression is a threat.”

As for Diallo, a pharmacist turned human rights activist, he documents human rights violations in a country witnessing violent clashes between rival forces.

“Dr. Diallo defies rampant impunity for human rights abuses committed by Islamist groups, government security forces and irregular groups, while facing threats from all of them,” said committee member Silke Pfeiffer.

Last year’s award was given to Chinese lawyer Yu Wensheng, who has worked on major human rights cases and pledged to seek the abolition of the death penalty.

The Geneva-based Martin Ennals Foundation awarded its first annual award to human rights defenders in 1994, and its jury includes representatives of 10 prominent human rights organizations.

The winners receive a reward ranging from 20,000 to 30,000 Swiss francs (about 22,000 to 33,000 dollars).

For the first time, the prize is awarded participation, and the three winners will share the reward in a ceremony organized in presence in Geneva on the second of next June.

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