Souhayr Belhassen Is Awarded the Prize of Solidarity
an article by tixup.com
The Tunisian human rights activist and president of the International Federation of Human Rights, Souhayr Belhassen was awarded in Lisbon, the 2011 North-South Prize for Solidarity of the Council of Europe.
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The prize was presented to her by Portuguese President Anibal Cavaco Silva “in recognition of her militant engagement for many years in favor of human rights throughout the world, as well as her struggle for the rights of women in developing countries." Mrs Belhassan received the prize along with Serbian President Boris Tadic, since the prize is given each year to two candidates, one from the North and the other from the South.
Contacted by the Agency TAP, Mrs Belhassan said she was "very pleased" to receive the prize and join the company of women and men of great distinction, including Nawal Al-Saadaoui and Kofi Annan. In her view, the prize honors the struggle for human rights in Tunisia as well as human rights in general. "It also honors the struggle of Arab women in the region", she added, with a special considertion for the women in Syria, and Syrians in general who are enduring terrible suffering as they hope for an end to their struggle." "This prize", she added, comes at a key moment in our struggle to bring down a dictatorial regime and to build free and democratic institutions in its place."
Even if "the Tunisian revolution, following free elections, brings to power an Islamist movement, we can only respect the results and congratulate them." she emphasized.
Mrs Belhassen, in addition, emphasized the importance of the prize "at a moment when North-South relations are turbulent on both sides. In the North, we are seeing the closing down of freedom of movement, a savage globalization and the election of right-wing governments, while in the South, we are seeing the election of Islamist governments."
She insisted, for this reason, on the need "to have these links to the voices defending human rights and their universality."
Created in 1995, the North-South Prize is given each year in Barcelona (the headquarters of the North-South Center) to two persons distinguished by their deep engagement and their actions to promote and protect Human Rights, to defend pluralistic democracy, and to reinforce the solidarity between North and South.
(Click here for a French version of this article)
Question(s) related to this article:
Is there a new international generation of human rights activism?,
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