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Sudanese Female Activist Wins Martin Institute Prize for Human Rights Defenders

Sudanese Female Activist Wins Martin Institute Prize for Human Rights Defenders

Thursday, 12 March, 2020 - 13:00
Tahani Abbas holds the Martin Institute Prize (Martin Institute)

Tahani Abbas, a Sudanese human rights activist, was awarded the Martin Institute Prize in Switzerland. This is the fifth edition of the prize awarded to human rights defenders and was awarded to her in appreciation of her work on human rights and women's issues in Sudan.


The Martine Institute Prize is named after a French-Swiss woman who dedicated her life to defending human rights. After her death, her family and the Swiss authorities dedicated a prize in her name, to be given on the 6th of March every year as part of the Human Rights Film Festival, to honor human rights activists and to remind nations of the importance of their rights.


Ms. Abbas told Asharq Al-Awsat that she was proud to receive the prize and because it embodies the distant world’s perception of the Sudanese people’s struggle and shows that the world is watching out for human rights. She went on to say that “personally, the award credits me with a strong role with regards to defending human rights and makes me feel that our efforts and positions in the defense of human rights are appreciated and did not go in vain."


In her acceptance speech, Abbas stressed that all Sudanese women qualify to stand in her place and receive the prize, adding that “I am only a miniature and symbolic example that personifies that struggle of all the women of Sudan. I am an extension of Sudan’s feminist struggle, which is deeply ingrained in its history since before the era of the Kandakes or Nubian Queens, passing through Mendi, daughter of the Sultan Ajabna, and reaching the icon of the Sudanese revolution, Alaa Salah."


Despite the admiration of observers and the organizers of the prize for the role of Sudanese women in the revolution, Abbas demonstrated her anger at what she calls “women's weak political participation of after the revolution”. However, she says “Despite being denied political participation after the success of the revolution, our struggle will not stop.”


Abbas says she is from rural Sudan, a member of the nation and of the feminist movement in particular and an activist defending human rights, saying, “I was nominated for the International Federation for Human Rights Award, it received the award for which 26 people and 16 organizations around the world had been nominated.


Abbas has been an active human rights defender since 2009 and is a member of many Sudanese feminist and human rights groups. She is a member of the executive committee of the Regional Alliance of Women Human Rights Defenders of North Africa and the Middle East, a member of the executive committee of the No to the Oppression of Sudanese Women Initiative, the My Fair Home campaign which is concerned with domestic workers, the I am Sudanese, which is concerned with nationality and a member of the Sudanese Alliance to End Child Marriage.


In her assessment of the human rights situation in Sudan after the revolution, she says that it has improved a lot as per international standards.


She said: ”The reports of international human rights organizations demonstrate this, and, locally, we feel that, as human rights defenders, we have achieved some victories."


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