Three exceptional women nominated for the Martin Ennals Award 2020

The finalists of the Martin Ennals Award 2020 are three exceptional women, reflecting the leading role women now play in defending human rights. In Yemen, Huda Al-Sarari denounces the existence of secret prisons and numerous cases of torture. In Mexico, Norma Ledezma fights against femicides and cases of disappearance. In South Africa, Sizani Ngubane advocates for women’s access to education and land.

Prix Martin Ennals 2020

The Martin Ennals Award 2020 for human rights defenders will be presented to one of these women on 19 February 2020 at an awards ceremony organised by the City of Geneva which, faithful to its commitment to human rights, has supported the award for many years.

Three women nominated: a first. Every year, the Martin Ennals Award honours human rights defenders from around the globe who have distinguished themselves through their deep commitment, often at great personal risk. For the very first time, the jury for the 2020 edition has nominated three women who defend the fundamental rights of their communities in delicate contexts. “The Martin Ennals Foundation is proud to pay homage to the courageous work of three women. For the Martin Ennals Award 2020, the choice of our jury reflects the ever-increasing global commitment of individuals – both men and women – to ensuring that human rights, and women’s rights in particular, are respected,” states Isabel de Sola, Director of the Martin Ennals Foundation.

The finalists for 2020

“The finalists of the Martin Ennals Award 2020 work on different continents, but all three are united by their resilience, determination and thoroughness as well as the tangible positive impact of their work,” explains Hans Thoolen, the Chairman of the jury.

  • With conflict raging in Yemen since 2005, Huda Al-Sarari – a Yemeni lawyer – has revealed the existence of numerous secret detention centres where the worst kinds of human rights violations have been committed including torture, disappearances and even summary executions.
  • In South Africa, women are confronted by discrimination which is reflected in widespread gender violence. In rural communities, women are often expropriated of their land or deprived of education and access to justice. Sizani Ngubane has created an organisation of more than 50,000 women from rural areas around her country and has spent more than 40 years successfully fighting for their rights to be recognised.
  • In light of the faltering rule of law in Mexico, the civilian population pays a high price for the resulting violence and generalised impunity. Women are the main victims of this situation, with more than 3,500 femicides committed every year. Norma Ledezma, a mother of one of the victims, channels all her energy into accompanying families in the State of Chihuahua in obtaining access to justice.

Awards evening on 19 February 2020

The Martin Ennals Award 2020 will be presented to one of the three finalists on 19 February 2020 during a public ceremony which will be streamed live. The event is organised by the City of Geneva which, faithful to its commitment to human rights, has supported the award for many years.

The Martin Ennals Award for human rights defenders is the fruit of a unique collaboration between ten of the leading human rights defence organisations, namely:


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Article modifié le 16.08.2023 à 11:22