Amnesty International USA honored Sudanese journalist Amal Khalifa Habani at this year’s Ginetta Sagan Award Reception and Dinner last night. The award is given annually to honor courageous women around the world who put their lives at risk to stand up for the rights of women and children who face grave human rights violations.
Habani’s columns have led to her being unlawfully prosecuted and censured for her criticism of Sudanese laws and policies that unfairly curtail the rights of women and undermine freedom of speech and other human rights.
“This award means the world to me,” said Habani. “My contributions are humble, yes, but my dreams for a life of dignity, freedom and equal rights for women, especially the marginalized, are uncompromising.”
"This award has given me the feeling that our struggles and the struggle for human rights in Sudan is supported and warmly embraced by the global human rights movement. It is as if their message is that I shouldn't fear anything because there are those who support me, that I am not alone and the whole world is with you.”
Named in honor of a WWII resistance fighter who went on to become a powerful advocate for Prisoners of Conscience worldwide, the Ginetta Sagan Fund of Amnesty International USA was created to recognize and assist women who are working to protect the liberty and lives of women and children in areas where human rights violations are widespread.
“The Ginetta Sagan Award is a tangible symbol of Amnesty International’s commitment to standing by women human rights defenders all around the world,” said Steven W. Hawkins, executive director of Amnesty International USA. “The violation of anybody’s human rights regardless of where they are in the world is a personal affront to our own rights. The women we honor tonight have faced discrimination, inequality, and other injustices, but they are not passive witnesses. Rather, they are leaders in our shared struggle.”
The Award recognizes outstanding achievement, often at great personal risk, and serves to increase international scrutiny on issues that threaten women’s rights, and human rights overall.
The Ginetta Sagan Fund emphasizes that more human rights work must be done by and for women and is accompanied by a $10,000 award.