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Martin Ennals Award Finalist Eren Keskin honoured

Martin Ennals Award Finalist Eren Keskin honoured at a ceremony in Turkey

Ankara, (9 May 2019) – A ceremony was held for Ms Eren Keskin who is one of the finalists for the 2019 Martin Ennals Award. Ms Keskin continues to be subject to a travel ban imposed by the Turkish authorities, and so was unable to attend the award ceremony held on 13 February 2019 in Geneva. Eren Keskin has been harassed, threatened, imprisoned, and even physically assaulted. Against a backdrop of a deteriorating human rights situation in Turkey, she was sentenced to twelve and a half years in prison for supporting the shuttered pro-Kurdish newspaper Özgür Gündem. She has been accused of denigrating the Nation and insulting the Turkish President.

She is free, pending the outcome of her appeal. 143 charges were brought against her, but she decided to remain in Turkey whatever the cost. “Even in jail, I will continue to fight. This is my way of living, I will not change it”, said the laureate, who is also very vocal in denouncing sexual violence and rape in detention and defending victims.

Eren Keskin is honoured for her exceptional and unrelenting commitment to fundamental freedoms and rights in Turkey. “The jury was impressed by the courage and tenacity she has shown, over the past 30 years, in advancing the rights of women, Kurds and LGBTI+ notably”, explained Dick Oosting, Chair of the Martin Ennals Foundation. « We add our voice to all those who call on the Turkish authorities to drop all charges on free speech grounds. Turkey must respect and uphold the fundamental rights of its citizens, in all their diversity. »

”This award is vital not only for me, but also for all human rights defenders in Turkey and for the people we stand up for. Freedom of expression and freedom of thought are severely punished in Turkey nowadays. The government tolerates no dissenting voices.

I know that by resisting we can change the world. Thank you for not forgetting us. Your solidarity and support give me the courage to continue the struggle “, she declared. The ceremony in February, which Keskin, was banned from attending also honoured two other human rights defenders: Abdul Aziz Muhamat a refugee claimant held in Australian offshore immigration in Papua New Guinea, who was selected vas the laureate as well as Marino Cordoba a leading figure within the Afro-Colombian community.

The jury of the Martin Ennals Award comprises of ten of the world’s leading human rights organizations: Amnesty International, FIDH, Human Rights First, HURIDOCS, International Service For Human Rights, Brot für die Welt, Front Line Defenders, Human Rights Watch, the International Commission of Jurists and the World Organization Against Torture.

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