We nominate Orhan Kemal Cengiz for the Vaclav Havel Human Rights Prize 2017

We nominate Orhan Kemal Cengiz for the Vaclav Havel Human Rights Prize 2017

We, the members of the Board of the Human Rights Agenda Association (IHGD), have decided to nominate our co-founder and former chairman, human rights lawyer Orhan Kemal Cengiz for this year’s Vaclav Havel Human Rights Prize. The prize was created in 2013 by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) in collaboration with the Vaclav Havel Libraryand Charta 77 Foundation.

The basis for our nomination of Orhan Kemal Cengiz is his admirable work in the field of human rights throughout the last 20 years. Six other organisations and individuals have promptly joined forces with our organisation in endorsing the nomination of Orhan Kemal Cengiz for the prize: UN Watch, one of the leading organisations monitoring the UN’s human rights work; Taner Kılıç, lawyer and chairman of Amnesty International Turkey; Gerald Knaus, chairman of the European Stability Initiative (ESI); Hüsnü Öndül, lawyer and former chairman of the Human Rights Association (IHD); Assoc. Prof. Dr. Bican Şahin, chairman of the Freedom Research Association; and Ayşe Bilgen, former vice-chairwoman of the Human Rights Research Association (IHAD).

We nominate Orhan Kemal Cengiz for the prize in the light of the fact that he has been defending the persecuted people regardless of their political opinions, affiliations and backgrounds, and that he has always dealt with all matters independently and impartially; and that he has defended vastly diverse human rights cases in almost all angles ranging from Christians and devout Muslims to LGBTI rights and Roma rights, to right to fair trial and prevention of torture and ill treatment to freedom of religion and freedom of expression.

As a leading human rights defender in Turkey, although Mr Cengiz has no affiliations or alignment to any of the individuals and groups he defended, he however has never hesitated to defy the serious risks involved in defending the rights of such individuals and groups.

As we express our support for Orhan Kemal Cengiz by nominating him for the Vaclav Havel Human Rights Prize, we also wish him all the best for his future work on human rights.


The Board of the IHGD