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Fijian lawyer nominated for Human Rights Defender Award

2 December 2010

Fijian human rights lawyer nominated for Amnesty International Aotearoa NZ’s Human Rights Defender Award

Prominent Fijian human rights lawyer Imrana Jalal has been nominated for Amnesty International Aotearoa New Zealand’s annual Human Rights Defender Award.

Now in its second year running, the Human Rights Defender Award celebrates the achievement of one person who has made an outstanding contribution to the defence, promotion, and/or advancement of human rights in the Asia-Pacific region.

Sixteen nominations have been received for the award, spanning a diverse selection of grassroots to global activists from around Asia, the Pacific and New Zealand.

“I am honoured to be nominated for this prestigious award. Even to be one of a number of nominees is profoundly moving for me,” says Jalal.

“Imrana Jalal is just one of a countless number lawyers on the frontline of human rights protection who has been persecuted for doing their job. Her nomination for Amnesty’s Human Rights Defender Award is testimony that lawyers in the Pacific region are as crucial for the defence of human rights as they are in other parts of the world,” says Patrick Holmes, Amnesty International’s Chief Executive Officer.

Jalal has been an outspoken critic of the Fijian military Government. She is involved with numerous human rights organisations within the Pacific and worldwide, including serving as a human rights advisor to the United Nations Development Programme.

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Earlier this year, Jalal was acquitted of charges related to Public Health Regulations which Amnesty International believes charges were politically motivated to punish her for her strong public stance against human rights violations committed by the military Government.

The recipient of the Human Rights Defender Award will be announced at a reception at the Auckland office of the Human Rights Commission on International Human Rights Day - 10 December – to celebrate the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Other nominees for the Award include: Contemporary artist Shahriar Asdollah-Zadeh; Singapore opposition leader Chee Soon Juan; New Zealand civil liberties lawyer Tony Ellis; No Right Turn blogger Idiot/Savant; Defence lawyer for the ‘Waihopai three’ Michael Knowles; Maire Leadbetter of the Indonesian Human Rights Committee; TVNZ’s Sunday correspondent Janet McIntyre; Burmese activist and refugee Naing Ko Ko; NZ peace and disarmament campaigner Alyn Ware; West Papuan activist Yan Christian Warinussy and AIANZ local activists Dolores Flynn-Edge and Elena Wrelton.


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