Murat Çelikkan Received the Civil Rights Defender of the Year 2018 Award

Hafıza Merkezi Co-Director Murat Çelikkan received the 2018 Civil Rights Defender of the Year Award in a ceremony held in Stockholm on April 12. Since 2013, Civil Rights Defenders annually awards a prominent human rights defender who, despite the risk to his or her own safety, strives to ensure that people’s civil and political rights are recognized and protected.

In Civil Rights Defenders’ statement, Murat Çelikkan was awarded because he has “laid the foundation of several prominent human rights organisations and, to this day, continues to be a symbol of justice and a role model for other human rights defenders”. His continuous work for a more open Turkey despite the hard conditions of a deteriorating human rights situation in the country and being targeted by the state on several occasions has been mentioned as instrumental in his selection.

About Defenders’ Days

The award ceremony took place as part of the Defenders’ Days, a capacity building conference. In this 4 day event, human rights defenders from all over the world came together to engage in trainings, networking opportunities, workshops and several other activities. In this way, the award is also used to highlight the work and the situation of human rights defenders from all over the world, many of them active in some of the worlds most repressive countries. In 2018, over 160 human rights defenders represented a total of 35 countries and four continents to Defenders’ Days.

About the Award

The recipient of the award is appointed by the Civil Rights Defenders Board, which chooses between three candidates presented by the organisation’s secretariat. The choices of secretariat are based on nominations submitted by CRD’s worldwide network of human rights defenders and human rights organisations.

The nominated candidates;

  • Should have a central role in the human rights movement in the country or region where the person is active.
  • Should have a long experience of working with the protection of civil and political rights in the country or region where the person is active.
  • Could be in need of international attention to improve the person’s protection.

About Civil Rights Defenders

Civil Rights Defenders supports local human rights defenders in the world’s repressive regions, and is Sweden’s local civil rights watchdog group. They partner with and support human rights defenders on four continents. Through advocacy, litigation, and public campaigns, CRD works on people’s rights globally.

Civil Rights Defenders was founded as the Swedish Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in 1982, as part of The Helsinki Movement, with the purpose of monitoring compliance with the human rights provisions of the Helsinki Final Act. The organisation was renamed Civil Rights Defenders in 2009.