Adivasi activist Soni Sori is one of the five recipients of the 2018 Award for Human Rights Defenders at Risk. Sori has been recognised for her struggle to achieve justice for Adivasi people in Chhattisgarh, said the Ireland-based human rights organisation Front Line Defenders, which established the award.
“The human rights defenders we are honouring today work in some of the most dangerous areas of the world, sacrificing their own security to peacefully demand justice and human rights for their communities,” said Andrew Anderson, executive director of Front Line Defenders.
For the past two years, Sori has been leading protests against alleged fake encounters and sexual violence committed by security forces in conflict zones in central India. She has also defended a number of educational centres from destruction by Maoist groups, according to the press release. In 2016, unidentified men attacked her in Chhattisgarh’s Bastar region and threw a black acid-like substance on her face, which sent her to hospital for about two weeks.
Other recipients of the award include Kurdish journalist and human rights defender Nurcan Baysal, Algerian League of Human Rights member and journalist Hassan Bouras, Peaceful Resistance of the Micro-Region of Ixquisis in Guatemala, and LUCHA, a youth movement formed in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo to fight corruption.
“The award demonstrates that these defenders have the support of the international community, that their sacrifices have not gone unnoticed, and that we stand in solidarity with their unrelenting bravery,” said Anderson.
These awards are presented annually to human rights activists who have contributed to protecting and promoting the rights of their communities despite risks to their lives.