29.07.2014
News

Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award for Adilur Rahman Khan

Adilur Rahman Khan, Odhikar.

KIOS is happy to share the news that Mr. Adilur Rahman Khan, a leading human rights lawyer from Bangladesh, has been awarded with the 31st Annual Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award.

“The award recognizes his courageous work uncovering the most serious human rights violations in Bangladesh and initiates a partnership to support his efforts to promote and safeguard human rights,” states the press release by the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights.

Mr. Khan is embraced for his tireless work as a human rights defender, and for exposing the government’s role for example in enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings. In addition Khan has successfully campaigned for the Bangladesh’s first law against torture.

Khan works as the Secretary of Odhikar, one of the most trusted civil society organizations in Bangladesh. KIOS has been partnering with Odhikar since the year 2010. In addition to above mentioned violations, Odhikar has raised attention to the themes of abuse by security forces, border killings, violence against women, restrictions in the freedom of expression and elections.

The work of Odhikar is especially timely as the government of Bangladesh has increasingly clamped down the civil society sector, particularly since 2012.

“Adil has courageously fought to protect human rights, even in the face of grave personal danger,” states Kerry Kennedy, President of the Robert F. Kennedy Center.

Khan and his colleagues are currently facing a trial on charges of “fabricating information” and “damaging the image of the state”, trumped up by the state of Bangladesh in reaction to Odhikar’s human rights work.

The Asian Human Rights Comission expresses hopes that after this global level recognition the government of Bangladesh will begin to respect the human rights defenders, working for the dignity and equality of all Bangladesh citizens. In addition, the AHRC hopes that this recognition will help to secure the safety of Mr. Khan and his colleagues at Odhikar.

The Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award was established in 1984, in the purpose of recognizing individuals who fight against oppression despite grave personal risk and sacrifice in the nonviolent pursuit of human rights. The RFK Center was founded in 1968 and has since honored journalists, authors and human rights activists.

For more information see the press releases by Asian Human Rights Comission and the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights.

Additional information: Ilari Lovio, ilari@kios.fi

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