Global Laureate: Nurcan Baysal, Turkey
"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
Nurcan Baysal is a Kurdish journalist and human rights defender based in Diyarbakir, Turkey. When the government launched a military offensive in the south-east in 2016, Nurcan spent months visiting Kurdish villages under bombardment, documenting human rights violations, and stopping to help families who’d lost everything in the conflict. Her writings are known for their critical focus on voice women living under the bombardment. When the authorities launched a military operation in Afrin, Nurcan took to social media to demand peace and condemn the violent assault. She was detained for speaking against the violence, and although later released she now faces up to 3 years in jail in a separate case related to her writing. Nurcan, according to authorities’ absurd claims, had “spread propaganda for armed terrorist organizations … and a call for provocative actions.” In addition to her reporting, Nurcan has also co-founded several NGOs, set up a camp to help Yazidi women fleeing the Islamic State, and been a key voice in countless reconciliation programs in the region.
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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.