Liberty recognises inspirational human rights heroes

26 November 2013

Inspirational human rights heroes from all walks of life were rewarded for their dedication at Liberty’s annual Human Rights Awards last night. Outstanding youngsters, campaigners, lawyers, activists and artists were recognised for their efforts in protecting and promoting the rights of others at the ceremony at Southbank Centre in London.

The event was again hosted by acclaimed writer and broadcaster Sandi Toksvig, back at the helm for the second year running. It was attended by stars of stage and screen Joanna Lumley, Benedict Cumberbatch and Rory Bremner, as well as photographer Mary McCartney and rower and Olympic gold medalist Katherine Grainger. Musician Emeli Sande and Victoria Cross winner Sergeant Johnson Beharry were also among the presenters, together with leading politicians and lawyers.

Among the winners were Caroline Criado-Perez, for leading the campaign calling for the reinstating of a prominent female figure on the reverse of the UK’s currency, after Elizabeth Fry was removed from the £5 note. Susan Smith, Colin Redpath, Karla Ellis and Courtney Ellis scooped the Human Rights ‘Far from Home’ Award for their determined fight for justice for their loved ones, all killed in Snatch Land Rover vehicles in Iraq – leaving a legacy of Human Rights Act protection for all service personnel. And Paul Houston took the Human Rights ‘Close to Home’ Award for his courageous defence of rights and freedoms in response to a toxic campaign that used his daughter Amy’s death to undermine the Human Rights Act.

Meanwhile The Guardian was handed the Independent Voice of the Year accolade for its ethical journalism in exposing the truth about blanket electronic surveillance by US and UK intelligence services. The newspaper’s editor-in-chief, Alan Rusbridger, was in attendance to collect the award. The Holocaust Educational Trust was given the Collective Voice Award for providing education, training and outreach programmes to combat anti-Semitism, racism and prejudice in schools, colleges and the community over the last 25 years. And race relations campaigner Doreen Lawrence received a standing ovation as she accepted the Lifetime Achievement Award for her dedicated fight to reform policing and national values following the murder of her son, Stephen.

The audience was also treated to two stunning live performances by Canadian soprano Barbara Hannigan – including a rendition of Nina Simone’s I Wish I Knew How it Would Feel to Be Free to bring proceedings to a close.

Shami Chakrabarti, Director of Liberty, said: “It is both humbling and inspiring to recognise and remember those from all walks of life who fight to protect our freedoms.

“Human rights are so often distorted by some of the most powerful interests in our country. Our nominees and winners remind us that most ordinary people share our values and many are prepared to stand up for them in the classroom, courtroom, newsroom and parliament chamber.”

 

Contact: Liberty Press Office on 020 7378 3656 or 07973 831128

 

NOTES TO EDITORS:

1. The Liberty Human Rights Awards 2013 winners and category nominees in full were:

  • Human Rights Arts Award, in association with Southbank Centre:

Celeste Dandeker-Arnold, OBE – For her work as co-founder and former Artistic Director of Candoco Dance Company, the UK’s first integrated dance company featuring disabled and able-bodied dancers. The other nominees were Deeyah and Ahdaf Soueif.

  • Collective Voice Award:

Holocaust Educational Trust – For providing education, training and outreach programmes to combat anti-Semitism, racism and prejudice in schools, colleges and the community over the last 25 years. The other nominees were Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru (National Assembly for Wales) and Helen Bamber Foundation.

  • The Christine Jackson Young Person Award:

Jinan Younis – For showing enormous dignity and courage in overcoming hostile resistance both from within and outside her school community to set up a feminist society at her all-girls’ school. The other nominees were May Gabriel and the NUS Black Students’ Campaign.

  • Human Rights Lawyer of the Year:

Stephanie Harrison QC, Garden Court Chambers – For her prowess as an advocate for human rights and commitment to progressing the rights of immigrants and asylum seekers and contesting oppressive anti-terrorism measures. The other nominees were Shauneen Lambe (Lawrence & Co; Just for Kids Law) and Mark Scott (Bhatt Murphy).

  • Human Rights ‘Far from Home’ Award:

Susan Smith, Colin Redpath, Karla Ellis and Courtney Ellis – For their determined fight for justice for their loved ones, who were all killed in Snatch Land Rover vehicles in Iraq. The families took their campaign all the way to the Supreme Court and won – leaving a legacy of Human Rights Act protection for every service man and woman. The other nominees were Hamja Ahsan and Stand Fast for Justice – Reprieve.

  • Human Rights ‘Close to Home’ Award:

Paul Houston – For his courageous defence of rights and freedoms in response to a toxic campaign that used his daughter Amy’s death to undermine the Human Rights Act. The other nominees were Steven Green (BritCits) and John Morgan & Michael Black and Steven Preddy & Martyn Hall.

  • Independent Voice of the Year:

The Guardian – For ethical journalism, essential to the Rule of Law, in exposing the truth about blanket surveillance by US and UK intelligence services. The 2013 Independent Voice of the Year recognises the courage it requires to speak out against injustice when others will not, to make a stand when no-one else will and to put the truth before all else, even at great cost.

  • Human Rights Campaigner of the Year Award:

Caroline Criado-Perez – For leading the campaign calling for the reinstating of a prominent female figure on the reverse of the UK’s currency, after Elizabeth Fry was removed from the £5 bank note. The other nominees were Adeel Akhtar and Alexander Perkins.

  • Lifetime Achievement Award:

Doreen Lawrence – For spending her life working to protect the rights and freedoms of others. She reminds us that fighting indignity and injustice will always be a fight worth having, because one person’s dedication to that principle can achieve extraordinary things.