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Chad Activist Among Martin Ennels Prize Winners

The Martin Ennals Foundation on Pham Doan Trang's appeal trial August 2022. Taken August 29, 2022

Campaigners from Chad, Kashmir, and Venezuela on Thursday won the Martin Ennals Award, one of the world's most prestigious human rights prizes, with the jury hailing their "courage".

Delphine Djiraibe, one of Chad's first women lawyers, is one of this year's winners of the Martin Ennals Award, given to those who press forward in the advancement of human rights.

Djiraibe, 62, pioneered the human rights movement in Chad, and was a key figure in bringing former dictator Hissene Habre, who brutally ruled from 1982 to 1990, to justice, the jury said.

As head of the Public Interest Law Center, she has accompanied people seeking justice for rights violations, with a growing focus on gender-based violence.

The two other 2023 Ennals Laureates are Khurram Parvez, a prominent rights activist in restive Indian-administered Kashmir, and Feliciano Reyna, a rights activist and advocate for access to health for marginalized LGBTQ people in Venezuela.

"The common denominator between the 2023 laureates... is their courage, passion, and determination to bring the voice of the voiceless to the international arena, despite the ongoing, sometimes life-threatening, challenges they endure," prize jury chairman Hans Thoolen said in a statement.

"We are particularly proud to honor these three exceptional laureates who have each dedicated over 30 years of their lives to building movements which brought about justice for victims or delivered medicines to the marginalized," he said.

"They have made human rights real for thousands of people in their communities."

The award ceremony will take place in Geneva on February 16, the organizers said.

The laureates will each receive 20,000 to 30,000 Swiss francs ($22,000-33,000).

The annual Martin Ennals Award, named after the first secretary general of Amnesty International, was first given in 1994.

The award is managed by the Geneva-based Martin Ennals Foundation. The prize honours individuals and organisations that have shown exceptional commitment to defending and promoting human rights, despite the risks involved. It raises their profile and gathers international support for their work.

The jury comprises representatives from 10 leading human rights organizations, including Amnesty and Human Rights Watch.