Mystery surrounds Dutch human rights award

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The winner of the Human Rights Defenders Tulip award is not being announced because of a request made by the winner’s family, says the Dutch foreign ministry. The winner should have been announced at a conference on internet freedom being held in The Hague.

The Netherlands has awarded the prize since 2008 to someone who has worked for the cause of human rights. The jury has chosen this year’s winner, but the reason her family doesn’t want the award to be made public for the time being has not been explained.

Jury not happy Free newspaper has spoken Cisca Dresselhuys who chaired the independent jury charged with choosing a winner. She says she and her colleagues want the award to go to Chinese lawyer and dissident Ni Yulan who was arrested with her husband in April.

Ni Yulan champions the rights of people forced to leave their homes by the Chinese authorities because of the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008.

Ms Dresselhuys is not happy with the reason the foreign ministry has given for the delay in announcing the winner of the human rights award. She says she cannot independently ascertain whether or not Ni Yulan’s family have indeed asked for the announcement to be postponed.

Alexander Pechtold, leader of the D66 democrat party, has told that he is going to raise the issue as soon as possible in parliament.

Chinese anger In recent years, China has responded furiously to the awarding of international honours to its dissidents. It did so, for example, when the Nobel Peace prize was awarded to Liu Xiaobo last year.

Former winners of the Human Rights Defenders Tulip include Bertha Oliva from Honduras, Shadi Sadr from Iran and Justine Masika Bihamba from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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