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PRESS RELEASE

Geneva, 16 February 2007

Announcement of the nominees for the Martin Ennals Award 2007

Press release in English
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Today, the Jury of the Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders (MEA) announces that the nominees for its 2007 Award are:

Pierre Claver Mbonimpa (Burundi). Mr Mbonimpa set up his own human rights organization (APRODH) to address the plight of the 9,000 detainees waiting for trial for years in the country’s overcrowded jails. He is often on the radio, speaking out about violations of the rights of Burundians. He has been threatened by the government and rumours of his arrest or death often circulate in the capital.

Comité Permanente por la Defensa de los Derechos Humanos (Colombia). CPDH was established in 1979 to defend, protect and promote human rights. Its task of denouncing abuses perpetrated by all the parties is particularly difficult due to its presence in all the regions of the ongoing internal armed conflict. Since its creation, 64 members of the CPDH have been killed, including several presidents; its offices are often searched.

Ethiopian Human Rights Council. EHRCO was established in 1991 to strive for a democratic system, to promote the rule of law and to monitor human rights violations in Ethiopia. Because of its work, several members have been arrested and harassed by the government’s security forces, while others were forced to leave the country or to disengage from their human rights activities. A reduced staff courageously continue its operations.

Lydia Cacho Ribeiro (Mexico). Journalist and president of the Women's Assistance Centre (CIAM), in Cancun. She has been fighting against impunity enjoyed by state and non-state agents who abuse the rights of women and children. As a result of her work, Lydia has been jailed and threatened with rape and death. She is forced to travel everywhere with bodyguards.

Rajan Hoole and Kopalasingham Sritharan (Sri Lanka). As co-founders of the UTHR(J), they have addressed human rights abuses by both the government and the Tamil Tigers (LTTE). At great personal risk they have reported on the effects of armed conflict on children, women, minorities and displaced persons. Often alone in exposing abuses by all parties, both men are under death sentences from the LTTE, and their co-founder, Rajani Thiranagama was assassinated. They have been forced to work underground.

The five nominees were retained after careful selection by the eleven human rights organisations that constitute the Jury: Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Human Rights First, International Federation for Human Rights, World Organization Against Torture, Front Line, International Commission of Jurists, German Diakonie, International Service for Human Rights, Huridocs, International Alert.  

For further information: Martin Ennals Foundation
Tel. +41.22.8094925   marreiros@martinennalsaward.org   / www.martinennalsward.org