Front Line Defenders today announced the five winners of its 2018 Award for Human Rights Defenders at Risk, naming Soni Sori (India), Nurcan Baysal (Turkey), the LUCHA movement (Democratic Republic of Congo), La Resistencia Pacifica de la Microregion de lxquisis (Guatemala), and Hassan Bouras (Algeria) as the Regional Winners.
UN Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights Kate Gilmore presented Nurcan Baysal, who was named the Global Laureate for 2018, with the Award during a ceremony at Dublin’s City Hall.
“I accept this award on behalf of the unsung heroes and for all HRDs in Turkey and especially in Kurdistan. I accept this award on behalf of those who continue to struggle to bring light to the darkness in Turkey.”
Baysal said; ““To demand peace is seen as a crime of terrorism in Turkey. People like me, who demand peace and human rights, are declared as terrorists. Do I look like a terrorist?”
“The defenders we’re honouring today work in some of the most dangerous areas of the world, sacrificing their own security to peacefully demand justice and human rights for their communities,” said Andrew Anderson, Executive Director of Front Line Defenders, as he announced the winners in Dublin.
Since 2005, the Award has been presented annually to human rights defenders who – at great personal risk – have made an exceptional contribution to protecting and promoting the rights of their communities. Historically awarded to one defender or movement each year, 2018 marks the first time Front Line Defenders has recognised defenders from five different countries as Regional Winners. The 2018 finalists and their families have faced attacks, defamation campaigns, legal harassment, death threats, prison sentences, and intimidation.
“As governments and corporations work to delegitimise and defame human rights defenders’ peaceful work, activists around the world tell us that international visibility and recognition is a critical protection tool,” said Andrew Anderson. “The Award demonstrates that these defenders have the support of the international community, that their sacrifices have not gone unnoticed, and that we stand in solidarity with their unrelenting bravery.”