For Immediate Release: October 8, 2013
Geneva – The Joint Mobile Group was selected by the International Human Rights Community, a jury that includes Human Rights First. 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. Strongly supported by the City of Geneva, the Award will be presented on Oct. 8th.
“The Joint Mobile Group exemplifies the qualities of courage and innovation that the Martin Ennals Award is designed to recognize. It is especially appropriate to honor a Russian organization focused on violations of human rights in the North Caucasus region at a time when the Russian government is stepping up its efforts to restrict the activities of independent human rights defenders, and on the seventh anniversary of the murder of Anna Politskovskaya, whose work serves as an inspiration for the Joint Mobile Group and for others working for a Russia governed by the rule of law, where the human rights of all will be respected,” said Human Rights First’s Neil Hicks.
After the murder of several human rights activists working in Chechnya, Igor Kalyapin started the Joint Mobile Group. To reduce the risk they send investigators on short missions to Chechnya to document Human Rights abuses. This information is then used to publicise these abuses to seek legal redress. Igor Kalyapin speaking of the effect of international publicity said, “… when the international community is watching us it is more difficult for the authorities to take steps against us…”
Micheline Calmy-Rey, Chair, Martin Ennals Foundation said, “The choice of the Jury has again shown that human rights defenders are the most crucial actors and can make a difference on the ground”
The Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders (MEA) 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,
- Int’l Federation for Human Rights,
- World Organisation Against Torture,
- Front Line Defenders
- International Commission of Jurists,
- German Diakonie,
- International Service for Human Rights