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Naqiba Barakzai wins Human Rights Tulip

10 Dec 2019 - 14:35
10 Dec 2019 - 14:35

KABUL in recognition of her work.

The award-giving ceremony took place at the embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Kabul. 

The winner was chosen by a jury, consisting of Fiona Call, Shaharzad Akbar, Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission head, Abdullah Ahmadzai, country representative of the Asia Foundation.

December 10 marks the 71st anniversary of the adoption of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. 

In a statement, Dutch Ambassador Ernst Norman said: “This year the local human rights tulip has focused on one of the Dutch priorities of our human rights policy: freedom of expression and press freedom.

“Freedom of the press has its disadvantages,” the late French president François Mitterrand once said. “But fewer than the absence of freedom.”

The ambassador said journalists, while showing their visions, highlighted divisions among people.

“This makes good journalism part of good governance. Where there is debate, democracy flourishes. Where views clash, the truth emerges. In all this, journalists and civil society play a central role.”

The role of media people becomes more important at a time when they are accused of presenting fake news, and fact-free opinions are widespread throughout social media and other for a, according to the envoy.

Norman regretted that people who brought out the truth and broke taboos were under great threat in Afghanistan. He ruled the failure to invite one Mahmoodi to the event.

“We all have heard about him by now. But the story wasn’t actually even out when we received his name to consider for this year’s award, as Mahmoodi was a highly respected and known member of civil society in Logar…

“As you all know, due to threats to his life Mahmoodi is in hiding and together with our jury it was decided that considering him from this year’s award would only have given unwanted attention to him and his family.”

While challenges remained high in Afghanistan, all nominees for the 2019 Human Rights Tulip showed courage, resilience and willingness to fight for their fundamental human rights, he added.

The three nominees present were Shamasuddin Mirzaei, Naqiba Barakzai, and Mohammad Shafee Mushfiqe.

A special mention was made during the event for Mussa Mahmoodi, who was also nominated for the prize, but due to threats to his life and the fact that he is still in hiding, the jury decided more attention to his case would do more harm than good.

The embassy reaffirmed its commitment to support human rights developments in Afghanistan.

The embassy wished Naqiba all the best with the prize consisting of a cheque worth EUR 5.000 — to invest in further human rights-related work and a 3-day Visitors Programme to The Hague to meet other Local Human Rights Tulip winners from all over the world.

Naqiba Barakzai 

Naqiba Barakzai graduated in 2008 after before starting her first job with a local radio television in Herat.

She received threats because of being a woman involved in operating camera in public, making interviews and appearing on TV, but she continued regardless.

She focuses on breaking taboos around human rights, women’s rights in particular, as well as on the voices of those living in rural and insecure areas. 

Barakzai interviewed senior government officials on sensitive issues and part of her researches on drug addicts involved visits to the insecure areas of drug addicts.

Another instance of courage is her reporting on women prostitutes, a topic that almost no one dares to touch upon.


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