Nebahat Akkoç

Two Human Rights Activists Receive 11th Annual Hrant Dink Awards

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ISTANBUL (Bianet) — The eleventh International Hrant Dink Award was presented on Sunday, September 15 with a ceremony held at the Istanbul Lütfi Kırdar International Convention and Exhibition Centre.

This year’s winners were Nebahat Akkoç, who works tirelessly to raise awareness among women on women’s human rights and opposes male violence and Agnes Kharshiing from India who defends the rights of the poor, women, children and the disadvantaged in the region where she lives and also struggles for environmental rights.

The award ceremony was hosted by Ece Dizdar and featured the musical performances of Maral Ataman, students of Hrant Çizmeciyan and Büyük Ev Ablukada.

As part of the ceremony, the people and organizations from Turkey and from around the world, who raise hope for the future with their actions were saluted with the video ‘Inspirations 2019’.

Agnes Kharshiing

The International Hrant Dink Award has been granted every year since 2009 on September 15th, which is the birthday of Hrant Dink.

Given the same award in 2018, journalist Murat Çelikkan, the director of the Truth Justice Memory Center in Turkey, granted this year’s award to Agnes Kharshiing working for the rights of poor, women and children in India.

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“The people should start to raise its voice, help the vulnerable and support them when their human rights are violated”, Kharshiing said while receiving her award and added, “It is only in this way that humanity can overcome hate. There are so many things that we can do together to bring peace to the world and fill the hearts of children with love, not fear.”

Nebahat Akkoç received her award from actor Ercan Kesal. Holding a brief speech of thanks, Akkoç said, “I am receiving this award on behalf of all women who try to stand up against violence by risking all prices to pay and enable us to dream a new world with the methods that they have developed themselves while coping up with their own violence.”

The opening speech of the ceremony was given by İbrahim Betil, the Advisory Board member of Hrant Dink Foundation. Touching upon the people currently behind bars in Turkey, Betil was met with a long ovation when he mentioned arrested businessperson Osman Kavala.

After Betil’s opening speech, the below video of “Inspirations”, where “the ones who inspire humanity with what they have done against violence, pain and human rights around the world”, was screened:

International Hrant Dink Award is presented every year to individuals, organizations or groups that work for a free and just world free from discrimination, racism and violence, who take personal risks for achieving those ideals, who break the stereotypes and use the language of peace and by doing so give inspiration and hope to others. By means of this Award, the Hrant Dink Foundation aims to remind to all those who struggle for these ideals that their voices are heard, their works are visible, they are not alone, and also to encourage everyone to fight for their ideals.

Each year the award is granted to two individuals; one from Turkey and one from abroad. In addition to the award itself, after an annual scanning and reviewing process, the Award Committee makes a selection of individuals, institutions, organizations and initiatives that pursue activities in line with the principles of Hrant Dink Award and announces their names to the public during the award ceremony under the title of “Sparks” or “Inspirations”.

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