“No Peace Without Justice Human Rights Award” honours Pakistani organisation “Blue Veins”, detainee Francesco Morelli and Syrian women for their extraordinary courage

3 Mar, 2014 | Press Releases

Rome, 3 March 2014

Today, the award ceremony of the inaugural “No Peace Without Justice Award for Human Rights” took place in Rome, at the Sala Zuccari of the Italian Senate of the Republic. The ceremony was held in the presence of Vice-President of the Italian Senate, Valeria Fedeli, former Minister of Foreign Affairs Emma Bonino and former Minister of Justice, Annamaria Cancellieri.

The purpose of the NPWJ Human Rights Award is to encourage and support the work of all those men and women who are fighting around the world for the affirmation of the rule of law, a precondition for the existence of fundamental rights of the person. The award has two categories: one for activities carried out in Italy and one for activities carried out at the international level. The Jury who selected the laureates was composed of Italian and international personalities, including the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Fatou Bensouda; the Chair of the Convention People’s Party of Ghana, Samia Nkrumah; President of the Extraordinary Commission for the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights of the Italian Senate, Luigi Manconi; Secretary of the Italian Radicals, Rita Bernardini; and Secretary to the Italian Prime Minister, Sandro Gozi.

The winners of the Award, which was conferred during the ceremony by Valeria Fedeli, Vice-President of the Italian Senate, are:

For the international sectionQamar Naseem, representative of Blue Veins, an organisation established in Peshawar, Pakistan. Blue Veins, which is part of the “Girls not Brides” network, works to prevent early and forced marriage in the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and tribal areas, where threats and retaliation against those who fight for gender rights are frequent.

For the Italian sectionFrancesco Morelli, held under the so-called “Article 21” regime who spent 12 years in jail and is currently under house arrest due to health problems. Mr Morelli works closely with the magazine Ristretti Orizzonti and has been dedicated to exposing the true reality of Italian prisons and the poor living conditions of those who are detained. The award was received on his behalf by his companion, criminologist Laura Baccaro.

Special Award: for Syrian women, in recognition of their courage in taking to the streets to protest against the Assad regime and in facing firsthandthe violence of the war. During the ceremony, Suhair Atassi, who is part of the Syrian National Coalition and has spent time in prison during the riots of 2011, and Oula Ramadan, human rights activist and member of the follow up committee of the Syrian Women Initiative for Peace and Democracy, have collected the Special Award for Syrian women.

The President of the Italian Republic, Giorgio Napolitano, addressed a message of greetings and thanks to Emma Bonino and No Peace Without Justice, but especially to these extraordinary democracy activists for their tireless work and commitment.