1-28-2013By Brian Dooley
Human Rights Defenders Program
Last month, prominent Bahrain human rights defender Maryam al Khawaja came to Washington, D.C. and received the Roger Baldwin Medal of Liberty on behalf of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) from Human Rights First.
The BCHR is a non-governmental advocacy organization that promotes democracy and human rights in Bahrain. It has been prominent in documenting and publicizing human rights violations during the government crackdown over the last year, often at great risk to its members and supporters. Maryam al Khawaja is the Acting President of the BCHR as the President, Nabeel Rajab, is currently serving a two-year prison sentence for his human rights activities.
In her acceptance speech, Maryam speaks about the “silent heroes of the BCHR,” who are “working in the shadows…who nobody knows about but who are doing the work” to the keep the BCHR alive despite the government crackdown.
Awarding the Baldwin Medal to the BCHR is a tribute to the courage of those protecting and defending human rights in the center in defiance of government threats and intimidation. In her remarkable speech, Maryam highlights the extraordinary people doing incredible work.