Ahmed Mansoor Selected as the 2015 Laureate Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders
Geneva – The Martin Ennals Jury today announced the selection of Ahmed Mansoor of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for the 2015 Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders. The award is given to human rights defenders who have shown deep commitment and face great personal risk. The aim of the award is to provide protection through international recognition. The jury is composed of leading human rights organizations, including Human Rights First. Strongly supported by the City of Geneva, the award will be presented at a ceremony hosted by the city on October 6.
Widely respected as one of the few voices within the UAE to provide a credible independent assessment of human rights developments in the country, Mansoor regularly raises concerns regarding arbitrary detention, torture or degrading treatment, and failure to meet international standards of fair trial. Since 2006, he has focused on initiatives concerning freedom of expression, and civil and political rights. In 2006-2007, Mansoor successfully campaigned for the release of two people who were jailed for critical social comments. Shortly after, the Prime Minister of UAE issued an order not to jail journalists in relation to their work. Mansoor has faced repeated intimidation, harassment, and death threats from the UAE authorities and their supporters, including arrest and imprisonment in 2011 following an unfair trial. He and four other activists who called for democratic rights in the UAE were jailed in 2011 on the charge of “insulting officials”.
Although pardoned and released later that year, Mansoor has been banned from travel and had his passport confiscated. The Martin Ennals Jury has publicly urged the government of the UAE to lift this travel ban and allow him to travel to accept the award.
“Ahmed Mansoor continues to pay the price for speaking out on human rights issues in his country, we urge his government to lift the travel ban,” said Martin Ennals Foundation Chair Micheline Calmy-Rey.
The two other 2015 finalists will receive Martin Ennals Prizes: Robert Sann Aung, a human rights defender from Myanmar, has courageously fought against human rights abuses in his country since 1974; and Guinean human rights defender Asmaou Diallo.
The Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders is a unique collaboration among ten of the world’s leading human rights organizations to give protection to human rights defenders worldwide. The Jury is composed of the following NGOs: Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Human Rights First, International Federation for Human Rights, World Organisation Against Torture, Front Line Defenders, International Commission of Jurists, EWDE Germany, International Service for Human Rights, and HURIDOCS. The award will be presented on October 6th at a ceremony hosted by the City of Geneva.