Kurdish journalist Nurcan Baysal wins international rights prize

Irish human rights organisation Front Line Defenders has named Kurdish journalist and Ahval contributor Nurcan Baysal its Global Laureate for Human Rights Defenders at Risk for 2018.

The UN Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights Kate Gilmore presented Baysal with the Award during a ceremony at Dublin’s City Hall on Friday.

Baysal has been documenting the human cost of the return to conflict in Turkey’s southeast, and has endured threats, intimidation, violent raids on her home, and detention, but still has not stopped writing.

“The human rights defenders we’re honouring today work in some of the most dangerous areas of the world, sacrificing their own security to peacefully demand justice and human rights for their communities,” Andrew Anderson, Executive Director of Front Line Defenders, told the awards ceremony.

In addition to her writing, Baysal has been involved in the founding of several NGOs, set up a camp for Yazidi women who have escaped the Islamic State, and been a strong voice for peace in the region.

“As governments and corporations work to delegitimise and defame human rights defenders’ peaceful work, activists around the world tell us that international visibility and recognition is a critical protection tool,” Anderson said.

“The Award demonstrates that these defenders have the support of the international community, that their sacrifices have not gone unnoticed, and that we stand in solidarity with their unrelenting bravery.”