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In recognition of human rights defenders

The High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay addressed the human rights community in Geneva on 15 October during the 2010 Martin Ennals Award ceremony for human rights defenders.

Muhannad Al-Hassani from Syria, Martin Ennals Award recipient for 2010 © Martin Ennals Foundation / Antonio MarmolejoPeople all over the world strive for the realization of human rights according to their circumstances and in their own way. Some human rights defenders are internationally recognized but a large majority of defenders remain anonymous.

The Martin Ennals Award (MEA) was created in 1993 by the Martin Ennals Foundation and each year recognizes the efforts of individuals who have worked to advance human rights in their country. The award is also a means to sustain these efforts which are often achieved in difficult conditions.

The 2010 award was granted to Mr. Muhannad Al-Hassani, a lawyer from Syria.

“This prestigious award celebrates the ideals and work of women and men who risk their lives to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms”, said Navi Pillay. “They are at the forefront of our struggle for human rights. We must always stand by human rights defenders.”

The UN Human Rights Chief also announced that this year Human Rights Day will focus on everyday people who speak out against all forms of discrimination in their local communities. The slogan for the celebration will be “Speak Up... Stop Discrimination”.

19 October 2010