LUCHA, Democratic Republic of Congo
"We live in dark times. It seems we are assailed daily with fresh atrocities. Welcome to a celebration of the courage of those who bring light and love to our world."
Andrew Anderson, Executive Director
The Regional Award for Africa was presented by Front Line Defenders Executive Director Andrew Anderson in a ceremony in Johannesburg, South Africa on 19 July. Members of LUCHA were not able to travel to the ceremony in Johannesburg and the award was presented by South Africa-based LUCHA activist Soraya Aziz.
Soraya Aziz accepting the Regional Award for Africa of the Front Line Defenders Award for Human Rights Defenders at Risk from Executive Director Andrew Anderson on 19 July at the ceremony in Johannesburg.
LUCHA is a non-partisan youth movement formed in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo that struggles against chronic corruption and impunity in the DRC. Initially focused on local issues like access to drinking water, electricity, and youth unemployment, in just 6 years the movement has developed into an extensive national-level network of powerful social organisers. Peaceful protests and demonstrations led by LUCHA are routinely attacked by authorities. In October 2017, 5 young protests were killed during a LUCHA-organised demonstration, and many of their members and leaders having been arrested and detained during peaceful assemblies. The Congolese national intelligence agency has detained several members, who have endured physical and psychological abuse in detention.
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About the Front Line Defenders Award for Human Rights Defenders at Risk
The annual Front Line Defenders Award for Human Rights Defenders at Risk was established in 2005 to honour the work of a human rights defender who, through non-violent work, is courageously making an outstanding contribution to the promotion and protection of the human rights of others, often at great personal risk to themselves.
In 2014 the Al-Jazeera Media Network became the global media partner for the Front Line Defenders Award, giving much wider coverage of the ceremony and of the defender's work to a global audience.
The Award seeks to focus international attention on the human rights defender's work, thus contributing to the recipient’s personal security.
Read about the other 2018 winners here.