How proud are we ?
One of the Fiji Women’s Rights Movement’s founding members, Imrana Jalal, is one of the 16 nominees for the Amnesty International Aotearoa New Zealand’s annual Human Rights Defender Award.
The recipient of the Human Rights Defender’s Award will be announced at a reception at the Auckland office of the NZ Human Rights Commission on International Human Rights Day - 10 December – to celebrate the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
FWRM's Executive Director, Virisila Buadromo said
“We at FWRM are proud that Imrana’s tenacity, respect and commitment for human rights, especially women’s human rights, are being recognised and acknowledged.”
“ For over 24 years, Imrana has used her knowledge of international human rights law and her feminist beliefs, to advocate for the advancement, protection and promotion of women’s human rights in Fiji, the region and even internationally. This has resulted in the enactment of the Family Law Act in Fiji, and the Family Protection Act in Vanuatu.”
The same sentiments have also been expressed by FWRM’s sister organisation, the Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre. FWCC’s Deputy Coordinator, Edwina Kotoisuva, said :
“Imrana's contribution to women's rights issues in the Pacific extends beyond the formulation of such legislation but includes the discussion and debate around these issues within the corridors of justice departments and court rooms in the region. This is due to her training for emerging lawyers as well as her push for the recognition of the issue at a regional level. “
“Her advocacy for and commitment to the rule of law has been unwavering and has posed many challenges and risks to her personally."
Now in its second year running, the Human Rights Defender Award celebrates the achievement of one person who has made an outstanding contribution to the defence, promotion, and/or advancement of human rights in the Asia-Pacific region.
Jalal is one of the 16 nominations that have been received for the award, spanning a diverse selection of grassroots to global activists from around Asia, the Pacific and New Zealand.
“I am honoured (and staggered actually) to be nominated for this prestigious award. Even to be one of a number of nominees is profoundly moving for me,” said Jalal.
Other nominees for the Award include: Contemporary artist Shahriar Asdollah-Zadeh; Singapore opposition leader Chee Soon Juan; New Zealand civil liberties lawyer Tony Ellis; No Right Turn blogger Idiot/Savant; Defence lawyer for the ‘Waihopai three’ Michael Knowles; Maire Leadbetter of the Indonesian Human Rights Committee; TVNZ’s Sunday correspondent Janet McIntyre; Burmese activist and refugee Naing Ko Ko; NZ peace and disarmament campaigner Alyn Ware; West Papuan activist Yan Christian Warinussy and AIANZ local activists Dolores Flynn-Edge and Elena Wrelton.
Jalal has been an outspoken critic of the Fijian military Government. She is involved with numerous human rights organisations within the Pacific and worldwide, including having served as a human rights advisor to the Suva based, Pacific Regional Rights Resource Team (RRRT).
Jalal is also a Commissioner of the Geneva based, International Commission of Jurists, and is long associated with the networks, Asia Pacific Forum on Women Law and Development in Thailand and Women Living Under Muslim Law in Pakistan.
Earlier this year, Jalal was acquitted of charges related to Public Health Regulations which Amnesty International believes were politically motivated to punish her for her strong public stance against human rights violations committed by the military Government. Jalal left the country to avoid further persecution.
Both Jalal and her husband Ratu Sakiusa Tuisolia have been prosecuted by Fiji’s military regime in a range of cases, but have managed to win all so far. The regime is appealing all the cases won by both.