And the Martin Ennals Laureates 2022 are…
Geneva, Wednesday, January 19, 2022 – Three driving forces of the human rights movement are the Laureates of the 2022 Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders. In Vietnam, Pham Doan Trang, a prominent journalist, fought for freedom of speech and civil rights before being convicted to nine years in prison. In Burkina Faso, Dr. Daouda Diallo fearlessly documents human rights abuses committed in the wake of widespread violence between armed forces and Islamist insurgents fighting for control over his country. In Bahrain, Abdul-Hadi Al-Khawaja ignited the quest for democratic and social reform and has sustained his dedication to human rights during ten long years in prison. The three Martin Ennals Award Laureates inspired many more to commit themselves to protect human rights. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Award Ceremony is postponed until June, 2nd 2022. The Martin Ennals Foundation, the Jury and the City of Geneva will meanwhile support the Laureates and celebrate their courage through other actions.
Celebrating three galvanizers of the human rights movement
Each year, the Martin Ennals Award provides recognition and protection to human rights defenders who strive for freedom, justice, equality and accountability in their communities and countries, often at the risk of their own lives. Human rights activists work tirelessly across the globe. Some of them bring such passion and charisma to their causes that they inspire others, thus mobilising the future generation of the movement. These exceptional activists are the ones nominated to the Martin Ennals Award. “In 2022, the Jury nominated three galvanizers of the human rights movement; courage is the connecting dot between them. ”, said Hans Thoolen, Chair of the Martin Ennals Award Jury.
The 2022 Laureates
- Pham Doan Trang is a leading journalist, editor and democracy advocate in Vietnam, where the Communist Party has left little room for opposition voices to flourish. She directed several independent media outlets to raise awareness amongst Vietnam’s citizens of their fundamental rights galvanising many other journalists and human rights defenders to speak up. She was one of the most hunted activists in her country before being arrested in October 2020. On 14 December 2021, Pham Doan Trang was sentenced to nine years in prison for “conducting propaganda against the state”. There are growing concerns about her health.
- Dr. Daouda Diallo is a trained pharmacist-turned-human rights activist in Burkina Faso. The founder of the civil society coalition CISC, he dedicatedly documents human rights violations in a country rocked by violent crossfires between government forces, local paramilitary groups and Islamist factions. He carries the torch for justice and accountability to victims of the violence and their families. Dr. Diallo’s message of unity amongst different ethnic groups and faiths provides inspiration to a country struggling with extreme poverty, hunger, and weak governance.
- Abdul-Hadi Al-Khawaja is a charismatic architect of Bahrain’s human rights movement and a leader of the 2011 protests calling for democracy and greater freedom in the Gulf region. Al- Khawaja is not only an activist, but also a social entrepreneur who founded some of the first human rights research and defence organizations in the region, which still exist today. He inspires future generations in Bahrain to continue to fight despite his now decade-long imprisonment.
A Ceremony postponed
Held in the heart of Geneva, Switzerland, the Martin Ennals Award Ceremony gathers every year both local and international audiences for a unique celebration of human rights defenders. “As a city of human rights, Geneva is committed to supporting international cooperation on critical issues. Throughout the pandemic, many organizations have persisted in their human rights missions, demonstrating tremendous resilience. In this spirit, we are proud to co-organise another edition of the Martin Ennals Award ”, said Member of the City Executive Alfonso Gomez.
In 2022, the organizers chose to postpone the Ceremony until June, 2nd 2022 instead of virtualizing it: “The latest outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic does not allow for us to welcome the Laureates and the public in optimal conditions. Instead, we will adapt our training and advocacy activities so we can continue to support the Laureates throughout the winter.”, explained Isabel de Sola, Director of the Martin Ennals Foundation.