31 Oct 2013
Human rights activist Abdulhadi al-Khawaja wins World Without Torture award

<p class="p1">The IRCT congratulates Danish-Bahraini human rights activist Abdulhadi al-Khawaja for winning the ‘World Without Torture’ award recognising his struggle for human rights and democracy in Bahrain.</p>

<p class="p1">The award, presented by IRCT member <a href="https://www.irct.org/about-us/the-members/find-irct-members/meet-our-member-organisations-1.aspx?PID=16987&amp;Action=1&amp;NewsId=2108"><span class="s1">DIGNITY &ndash; The Danish Institute Against Torture</span></a>, is given annually to an individual who has made a special commitment to human rights in his country and with their connections in Denmark.<br /> <br /> Abdulhadi al-Khawaja was just 16 years old when he began campaigning for human rights in Bahrain. He went into exile in 1991 and came to Denmark to escape threats towards his work. It was in Denmark where he became a founding member of the Bahrain Human Rights Organization and, in 2001, he moved back to his homeland where he helped establish the <a href="http://www.bahrainrights.org/"><span class="s1">Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BCHR)</span></a>.</p> <p class="p1">&nbsp;</p> <p class="p1">Over the next 10 years, he continued his peaceful protests for human rights, which led to frequent arrests. Since 2011 al-Khawaja has been detained and tortured in Bahrain where he is serving a lifetime prison sentence of 25 years for his involvement in the Bahraini uprising.<br /> <br /> Even after his arrest, he has been able to focus on exposing the human rights violations that continue to occur in Bahrain, work which has been continued by the BCHR and through daughter <a href="http://worldwithouttorture.org/2013/10/23/middle-easts-blind-spot-for-how-long-can-we-ignore-bahrains-inconvenient-revolution/"><span class="s1">Maryam al-Khawaja, who recently spoke to us about the human rights abuses in Bahrain</span></a>.</p> <p class="p1">&nbsp;</p> <p class="p1">&ldquo;Bahrain is a real and current human rights problem where people are beaten, tortured and detained on a mass scale, all because they want to exercise their human rights,&rdquo; <a href="http://worldwithouttorture.org/2013/10/23/middle-easts-blind-spot-for-how-long-can-we-ignore-bahrains-inconvenient-revolution/"><span class="s1">Ms al-Khawaja says in our report</span></a>.</p> <p class="p1">&nbsp;</p> <p class="p1">&ldquo;Distancing ourselves from this turmoil only makes the situation worse. Only with international attention and continual human rights work can we really bring the human rights abuses to in Bahrain to light.&rdquo;</p>

“Healthcare professionals have a very important role to play in creating a world without torture as those who help mitigate the physical and psychological pain faced by victims of torture.” - Dr. Yadira Narvaez

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