Chechen human rights worker wins prestigious Martin Ennals award

The award, part of a unique collaboration between ten leading non-governmental human rights organisations - including Amnesty International, is being bestowed on Ms Yusupova in recognition of her brave human rights work in Chechnya.

Lida Yusupova is the coordinator of the Grozny office of the Moscow-based human rights organisation Memorial, a small office with only six staff members. The organisation is one of the few human rights organisations still operating in Chechnya, providing the world with crucial information on violations of human rights in this Russian republic.

Lida collects testimonies from those victims of human rights abuses, including in locations where killings and 'disappearances' have occurred. She accompanies the victims in their claims to the Russian Army and Security Services and provides legal assistance to the extent that the judicial system still functions in this part of Russia.

The Chairman of the Jury of the award, Hans Thoolen, called Lida one of the most courageous Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights in Europe today, saying:

'There is complete consensus among all human rights organisations that Lida deserves the award for her tireless efforts in a situation of war and extreme danger, with increased risk for Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights.'

The Grozny Memorial office has to function in circumstances of danger and complete isolation. Access to Chechnya for international NGOs, intergovernmental organisations and independent media is extremely restricted. Last year Lida's office was the target of a direct attack by the army but the staff has continued its indispensable monitoring work.

The ceremony will take place in Geneva on 7 April 2004. It will be transmitted live by Swiss Television and re-transmitted by TV5 to millions of households.

Background

The Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders (MEA) is a unique collaboration among ten of the world's leading non-governmental human rights organisations. The Jury is composed of the following:

  • Amnesty International,
  • Defence for Children's rights,
  • German Diakonie,
  • Human Rights Watch,
  • Huridocs,
  • International Alert,
  • International Commission of Jurists,
  • International Federation for Human Rights,
  • International Service for Human Rights and
  • the World Organisation Against Torture.

The previous 10 recipients of the MEA are:

  • Alirio Uribe Muñoz, Colombia (2003);
  • Jacqueline Moudeina, Chad;
  • Peace Brigades International, Immaculée Birhaheka, Democratic Republic of Congo;
  • Natasa Kandic, Yugoslavia;
  • Eyad El Sarraj, Palestine;
  • Samuel Ruiz García; Mexico;
  • Clement Nwankwo, Nigeria;
  • Asma Jahangir, Pakistan;
  • Harry Wu, China (1994).
  • Martin Ennals (1927-1991) was instrumental in the modern human rights movement. He was the first Secretary-General of Amnesty International and the driving force behind many other organisations. His deep desire was to see more cooperation and solidarity among NGOs. The award in his name is evidence that this is possible.

    For more information on the Martin Ennals Award: www.martinennalsaward.org

    For more information about Russia, visit the Amnesty International Russia campaign site: https://www.amnesty.org.uk/content.asp?CategoryID=22

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