Human Rights Award presented to Henri Tiphagne (m.) © Jorg Carstensen
Indian lawyer and human rights activist Henri Tiphagne has been awarded this year's Amnesty International Human Rights Award in Germany.
German President Joachim Gauck praised Tiphagne's work and that of the "numerous courageous women and men" at his side at the award ceremony on Monday evening in Berlin. "The community of bright and committed citizens is of elementary importance for the protection of human rights. Conversely, true, humane community can only develop where elementary rights are respected," Gauck affirmed, according to the speech manuscript.
At the same time, Gauck paid tribute to the work of Amnesty International. The human rights organization made an indispensable contribution to the principle of community participation and obligations. This is of incomparable importance, especially in times when the universal significance of human rights is being relativized in many places. "A tradition of torture, a culture of disenfranchisement and violence against dissenters or people of different faiths, against women, homosexuals or migrants is not compatible with human rights. In no country in the world!"
Founder of People's Watch
Tiphagne, 59, is founder of the Indian human rights organization People's Watch. For more than 20 years, People's Watch has been researching and documenting human rights violations and representing victims in court. Another focus is human rights education: In 1997, Tiphagne founded an institute that organizes training for teachers and oversees school programs that provide information about human rights.
His passionate work against torture and discrimination is outstanding and an inspiration for activists worldwide, said Selmin Caliskan, secretary general of Amnesty International in Germany. Time and again, People's Watch has been subjected to government harassment, but has not been intimidated by it. For example, the organization's bank accounts have been frozen on several occasions.
The with 10.The Human Rights Award of the German Amnesty section, which is endowed with 10,000 euros, is presented every two years to individuals and organizations that work for human rights under difficult conditions. This year the prize will be awarded for the eighth time.