Rafto Prize 2009 awarded to Malahat Nasibova
(05/11-2009) The 2009 Rafto Prize for Human Rights was awarded to journalist and human rights defender Malahat Nasibova from Azerbaijan on 1 November.
The award ceremony took place at the National Venue of Theatre in Bergen. - It is a great honour for me to receive this prize, and I will use it to build an island of freedom in an ocean of tyranny, said Nasibova after the ceremony. This years Rafto laureate is a journalist an human rights defender from the autonomous republic Nakhchivan, which is a part of Azerbaijan, but an enclave, bordering Iran, Armenia and Turkey. Risking her own safety, she reports on abuse of power, human rights violations and corruption in Nakhchivan. As a correspondent for the independent information bureau, 'Turan' in Azerbaijan and for 'Radio Free Europe'/'Radio Liberty', she is the brave voice reporting on violations by the police against ordinary citizens, kidnapping of members of the opposition, and attacks on journalists.
The Rafto price can hopefully give Nasibova protection from the persecution that she and her family has been a victim of for several years. With the Rafto price for human rights given to a prominent human rights defender from Azerbaijan, the Norwegian Helsinki Committee encourages the Norwegian government to continue to lead the way in criticising the Azerbaijani government when it comes to grave situation for human rights in the country. Torbjørn Jagland, the newly elected Secretary general of the Council of Europe, should also seize this opportunity, and demand that Azerbaijan fulfill their international obligations as a member of the Council of Europe, and respect basic human rights.