Refugee rights take centre stage at Liberty Human Rights Awards 2016

27 October 2016

The UK’s response to the refugee crisis was under the spotlight last night as Liberty recognised campaigners, lawyers and young activists for their commitment to protecting and promoting the rights of others at its annual Human Rights Awards.

The event – hosted by comedian, activist and journalist Mark Thomas – saw the inaugural presentation of the Jo Cox ‘More in Common’ Award.

Created in the memory of Jo Cox MP, the Award recognises those who work tirelessly to bring people and communities together. The 2016 recipients were Help Refugees and Safe Passage UK for their remarkable efforts in safeguarding refugee children. 

Des James at Liberty Human Rights Awards 2016

Other winners included solicitor Mark Scott – for his work to establish safe, legal routes for refugee children and vulnerable adults to travel from Calais to the UK – and KEO Films, the team behind the ground-breaking BBC documentary Exodus: Our Journey to Europe.

The ceremony also paid tribute to Des and Doreen James, the parents of Private Cheryl James, and Justice4the21 – acampaign group established by the relatives of the victims and survivors of the 1974 Birmingham pub bombings – who both received the Human Rights ‘Long Walk’ Award, recognising those who have dedicated decades to seeking truth and justice.

Martha Spurrier, Director of Liberty, said: “This year has seen the Government reiterate its commitment to creating a ‘hostile environment’ for migrants while continuing to shirk its responsibilities towards those is desperate need both at home and abroad. Following a surge in hate crime on our streets and the murder of a much loved MP, it’s easy to feel the UK is more divided than ever.

“But last night reminded us that there are people all over the country who are committed to standing up for the rights of others, fighting for justice, strengthening community bonds and campaigning for a more compassionate world.”

The 2016 Liberty Human Rights Awards winners and nominees in full were:

The Jo Cox ‘More in Common’ Award

Help Refugees and Safe Passage UK for their remarkable efforts in safeguarding refugee children.

Human Rights ‘Long Walk’ Award

Des and Doreen James, the parents of Private Cheryl James, and Justice4the21 for dedicating decades to seeking truth and justice.

The Christine Jackson Young Person Award

Young Minds VS, for bringing young activists together online to campaign for better mental health and wellbeing through their #LifeOnTheWeb campaign. Other nominees were Luke Buckland, Maria Munir and RECLAIM.

Human Rights ‘Close to Home’ Award

Justice for Laughing Boy, Charlotte Haworth Hird and INQUEST, for their tireless efforts to improve the standard of care provided for people with mental health and learning disabilities following the tragic death of Connor Sparrowhawk. Other nominees were Sisters Uncut and Coventry Council, Law Centre, Citizens Advice and Refugee and Migrant Centre.

Human Rights Arts Award

KEO Films for Exodus: Our journey to Europe, for shining light on the human story behind the migration crisis and laying bare the dangers faced by those seeking safety for their loved ones. Other nominees were Nikesh Shukla for The Good Immigrant, the Alzheimer’s Society’s Singing for the Brain and Rebecca Crookshank for Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.

Human Rights Lawyer of the Year

Mark Scott, Bhatt Murphy, for his work on landmark litigation to establish safe legal routes for refugee children and vulnerable adults to travel from Calais to the UK. Other nominees included Rebekah Carrier of Hopkin Murray Beskine and Karen Quinlivan QC.

Contact: Liberty Press Office on 0207 378 3656, 07973 831128 or pressoffice@liberty-human-rights.org.uk.