The 2021 Front Line Defenders Award Laureates are:
Aminata Fabba is the Chair of the Malen Affected Land Owners Association (MALOA), a farmer and a grassroots land rights defender in the southern provincial district of Pujehun. MALOA is a community movement resisting SOCFIN and other biofuel copmanies in Sierra Leone.
With the inception of the large scale land investment in Malen Chiefdom in 2011, Aminata stood against the Chiefdom Authorities to protect her family land; for that she was arrested by police and taken to Sahn, the chiefdom headquarters, and locked in a cell for one week. She was only released with the help of national and international pressure with payment of bail fee. Upon her release she became resolute to continue the fight and eventually became a land rights activist mobilizing support against any occupation of land by the Socfin Agricultural Company (SAC).
Camila Moradia was born in a place known as Grota, in the group of favelas that make up the Complexo do Alemão. "Cria do morro" as she is born, raised and lives in Alemão. Her family is in its fourth generation in the favela.
In 2010, with the removal of the "Favelinha da Skol", Camila became one of the leaders of the fight for housing in the Alemão complex and started to give voice to 1,300 families. In 2015, based on the actions she was already carrying out and the demands of women who arrived, Camila established the collective, Women in Action in Alemão (MEAA).
MEAA's mission is to end violence against women and contribute to the empowerment of women and their families, thus strengthening their autonomy and guaranteeing their basic rights. More than 400 women are assisted in the Complexo do Alemão, a slum in the North Zone of Rio de Janeiro.
Mother Nature Cambodia is an environmental rights movement that advocates and campaigns locally and internationally for the preservation, promotion and protection of Cambodia's natural environment. As part of their work, the movement monitors and challenges gross environmental violations and also raises awareness, educates and empowers people by providing them with training and financial support.
What started as small campaign to empower Indigenous communities to mobilize against a hydroelectric dam has developed into a large movement of human rights defenders – the vast majority young university students – campaigning to protect the environment and expose corruption in Cambodia.
Siarhei Drazdouski is the Founder and Director of the Office for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, where Aleh Hrableuski works as a lawyer.
The Office for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is a prominent and leading Belarusian human rights organisation that works for persons with disabilities. The organisation provides legal assistance and facilitates consultations on the rights of people with disabilities, advocates for changes in legislation, conducts research and educational activities to enable citizens to learn more about people with disabilities in Belarus.
In February 2021, the two HRDs were detained and interrogated by the Investigative Committee. After the interrogation Aleh Hrableuski was detained and Siarhei Drazdouski was placed under house arrest.
Born in Senegal, and an immigrant to Portugal, Mamadou Ba has dedicated his life to anti-racist activism. He has been member of the SOS Racismo Movement since 1999 and is a founding member of several national and European organisations defending the rights of migrants and racialized people.
Mamadou is one of the most prominent voices of the anti-racist movement in Portugal who has denounced the proliferation of hate speech. As such, he is also one of the preferred targets of attacks by far right and neo-Nazi movements in Portugal.
In the beginning of 2020, Mamadou Ba received a letter with a death threat and one bullet case at his home. In February 2021, an online petition was launched to strip him from his Portuguese citizenship and to deport him from Portugal. And since June, the headquarters of SOS Racismo were vandalised twice with swastikas and racist slurs.
The South Hebron Hills region is one of the most dangerous areas for Palestinians in the West Bank, with some of the most extremist Israeli settlements located in the area. Sami and Sameeha Huraini and their other activists in the Youth of Sumud movement escort shepherds and school children under threat of attacks by Israeli settlers and soldiers. Sameha also organises activities for women in her village.
As a leader in the community, Sami is frequently harassed by both Israeli settlers and the Israeli military for his peaceful work. He was arrested after his participation in a peaceful demonstration on 8 January 2021. The demonstration was organised to protest against Israeli army violence, particularly after the shooting of the Palestinian activist Harun Abu Aram, on 1 January 2021, who was shot in the neck at point blank range. Sami’s trial is still ongoing. Sameeha has also been detained and has faced judicial harassment for her work defending the rights of her community and the land.
Patrons of the 2021 Award
Senator Róisín Garvey
Born and living in rural Co. Clare, in the west of Ireland, Róisín Garvey is a mother, educator, environmentalist, activist, former County Councillor for North Clare and now a Green Party Senator in Seanad Éireann.
Róisín has a background in Climate Education & Community Activism. She is a single mother and have been campaigning for mothers and children since her, now adult, son was 3. She has been volunteering in the community for years around cycling, sustainable transport, biodiversity and worked for over 14 years in sustainable transport and behavioural change. Róisín set up Fracking Free Clare leading to the banning of fracking in Co. Clare and subsequently all other councils nationally followed suit. Róisín is the first woman and first Green elected to Clare Co. Council for North Clare and she became a Senator in May 2020 as a Taoiseach’s nominee to the Seanad.
Jennifer Carroll MacNeill TD
Jennifer Carroll MacNeill is an Irish Fine Gael politician who has been a Teachta Dála (TD) for the Dún Laoghaire constituency since the 2020 general election. She is passionate about politics as a tool to improve social justice, opportunity and fairness. her vision for the future of Ireland is to continue to work through Covid, rebuild a strong economy, full employment, at the centre of Europe and a compassionate country that supports its people. Her values are integrity, compassion, respect, equality and family.
Gary Gannon TD
Gary Gannon is an Irish Social Democrats politician who has been a Teachta Dála for the Dublin Central constituency since the 2020 general election. He served as a Dublin City Councillor from 2014 to 2020. Gary graduated from Trinity College in 2012 with an Honours degree in History & Political Science.
Cormac Devlin TD
Cormac Devlin, aged 23, was elected to Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council in 2004, taking the second seat in the Dún Laoghaire local electoral area with 1,776 first preference votes and becoming the youngest ever Councillor on the council.
Ivana Bacik TD
Ivana Catherine Bacik (born 25 May 1968) is an Irish Labour Party politician who has served as Leader of the Labour Party in the Seanad since May 2011 and a Senator for the University of Dublin constituency since July 2007.She previously served as Deputy Leader of Seanad Éireann from 2011 to 2016. She has been Reid Professor of Criminal Law, Criminology and Penology at Trinity College Dublin (TCD) Law School since 1996, and was a made a Fellow of Trinity College Dublin in 2005.
Sean Crowe TD
Seán Crowe is an Irish Sinn Féin politician who has been a Teachta Dála for the Dublin South-West constituency since the 2011 general election, and previously from 2002 to 2007. Seán was Secretary of the Sinn Féin delegation to the Forum for Peace and Reconciliation in Dublin Castle, which predated the Good Friday Agreement negotiations. He also represented Sinn Féin in the multi-party negotiations that led to the Good Friday Agreement and has travelled internationally to promote the party’s peace and reconciliation strategy.