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/ Congratulations, Abdul-Rahman Al-Zbib!

The independent jury chose Abdul-Rahman Al-Zbib from Yemen as this years’ winner of the Raif Badawi Award.

Abdul-Rahman Al-Zbib described human rights as a universal language. This is not only a very beautiful linguistic picture, but in fact, the most accurate description of the universality of human rights. One thing we must not forget when we look at Yemen, other armed conflict areas and difficult human rights situations: Perpetrators and those who are accused of having committed crimes of enforced disappearances, torture, arbitrary detention and other serious human rights violations, are human beings. Not institutions, not war parties they work for, no, it is always people, who commit crimes. They are people who are equipped with reason and moved by free will. As fellow human beings living in the same presence, we can do nothing else but to appeal, and use our institutions in order to stand up for others.

That is what our human rights work is all about, supporting civil society where others have long since turned their backs. A prize always has only a symbolic character. The Raif Badawi Award is a symbol of all those who want nothing more than to express their opinions freely and now have to face oppression, persecution and imprisonment. “To write about what we observe in front of our houses, to write and to speak out loudly what we think and what our opinion is about is a universal human right.”

// We must support those who are courageous enough to stand up for human rights, despite threats to their well-being, as is the case for the prizewinner Abdul-Rahman Al-Zbib
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Emphasised Agnes Callamard, UN-Special Rapporteur on extra-judicial summary or arbitrary executions in her keynote speech.

That is what our human rights work is all about, supporting civil society where others have long since turned their backs. A prize always has only a symbolic character. The Raif Badawi Award is a symbol of all those who want nothing more than to express their opinions freely and now have to face oppression, persecution and imprisonment.

// To write about what we observe in front of our houses, to write and to speak out loudly what we think and what our opinion is about is a universal human right.

Bettina Stark-Watzinger MP, Member of the Board of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom, symbolically presented the Raif Badawi Award 2020.