October 9, 2017
At an awards ceremony on Tuesday in Geneva, dignitaries from the United Nations and the Swiss government, along with diplomats and members of the international human rights community, will come together to recognize the work of human rights defenders worldwide at risk of persecution.
But one seat will be notably empty: that of Mohamed Zaree.
Egyptian activist Zaree is one of three finalists for the prestigious Martin Ennals Award — often called “the Nobel Prize for human rights” for its global scope and recognition. It’s named after Amnesty International’s esteemed former secretary-general.
Zaree will not be present to find out if he has been selected the winner by a jury comprising representatives from 10 leading international rights organizations, including Amnesty and Human Rights Watch. He can’t leave Egypt because he was slapped with a travel ban by the Egyptian government last year.
Still, the 37-year-old activist says he’s very grateful to be nominated for the award, if anything for the extra security it could potentially give him by raising his profile abroad.
“Being recognized in a prestigious award,” Zaree said in an interview with PRI, “this is a kind of protection.”
This year’s Martin Ennals Award ceremony is today!
Join us at 6PM, Uni Dufour, at Auditorium Jean Piaget (U-600). Meet the finalists or their representants, learn about their work, and contribute to their protection! The ceremony is open to public and the entry is free.
You are not in Geneva? Don’t worry, you can follow the live streaming right here on our Facebook page.
Show your support: come to the ceremony or watch our Facebook live, leave a comment or a like.
Each year, the jury of 10 International Human Rights NGOs selects the Laureate of the Martin Ennals Award. This award provides the finalists and laureates protective publicity to continue their work, as well as opens doors to high level discussion on human rights.
The annual ceremony takes place in Geneva, in October, in association with the City of Geneva.
The Martin Ennals Award takes its name from Martin Ennals, Secretary General of Amnesty International between 1968 and 1980. He was active in the creation of HURIDOCS, SOS Torture (later called the World Organisation Against Torture), Defense for Children International, Article 19, and finally International Alert.