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2011 Joint Mobile Group winner of the Seventh Front Line Award for Human Rights Defenders at Risk
On 05 May the 2011 Front Line Defenders Award was presented by Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland and founder of the Mary Robinson Foundation - Climate Justice, to the Joint Mobile Group of the Russian Federation for their outstanding work investigating torture, killings and disappearances in Chechnya.
In the climate of total impunity currently prevailing in Chechnya the Joint Mobile Group plays a crucial role in collecting evidence before it is either contaminated or destroyed by the local police and security forces who have in the past tried to block investigations by either destroying or forging evidence. For many of the family members who have lost loved ones the Joint Mobile Group is their last hope of achieving justice.
The Joint Mobile Group consists of legal and communications experts from different parts of the Russian Federation who travel to Chechnya whenever there is an incident of human rights abuse. They travel with video cameras which enable them to collect evidence and interview survivors and witnesses for use in subsequent prosecutions.
Presenting the Award Mrs Robinson said “The work of the Joint Mobile Group is an inspirational example of how committed individuals, despite all the pressures that are brought to bear on them, can hold the line in defence of justice, truth and the rule of law. It is the denial of access to justice that enables tyrants to prevail. This is why the work of human rights defenders like the Joint Mobile Group is so important”.
The purpose of the Front Line Award is to honour the work of a Human Rights Defender who, through their non-violent work, has made an outstanding contribution to the promotion and protection of Human Rights in the face of considerable personal risk.
“Human rights defenders are people who make extraordinary sacrifices, often putting their lives at risk for the human rights of others. They are usually either on the move or on the run and they are the people who change society – that is why they need and deserve our support and why Front Line is so pleased to welcome this cross party support for human rights defenders today” said Mary Lawlor, Director Front Line.