New York: Four “courageous and tireless” advocates of human rights are the 2015 recipients of the prestigious Alison Des Forges Award for Extraordinary Activism, Human Rights Watch said on Tuesday.
The winners, leading voices for justice in their countries, are Nisha Ayub (Malaysia), Yara Bader (Syria), Khadija Ismayilova (Azerbaijan) and Nicholas Opiyo (Uganda).
Ismayilova is currently behind bars and on trial on bogus tax and other charges brought in retribution for her reporting.
“The Alison Des Forges Award honors people who work courageously and selflessly to defend human rights, often in dangerous situations and at great personal sacrifice,” said Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch.
“The (winners) have dedicated their lives to defending the world’s most oppressed and vulnerable people.”
The award is named for Alison Des Forges, senior adviser at Human Rights Watch for almost two decades who died in a plane crash in New York on February 12, 2009.
Des Forges was the world’s leading expert on Rwanda, the 1994 genocide, and its aftermath.
The four 2015 winners and two 2014 recipients of the award, Father Bernard Kinvi from the Central African Republic and M.R. Rajagopal from India, will be honored at the Voices for Justice Human Rights Watch Annual Dinners held in more than 20 cities worldwide in November 2015 and March-April 2016.