Prestigious human rights award given to Russian human rights defenders group


The prestigious Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders for 2013 has been conferred on the Joint Mobile Group of Russia.

(Geneva) – The prestigious Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders for 2013 has been conferred on the Joint Mobile Group of Russia.

The Joint Mobile Group, a team of volunteer lawyers and experts, works to document, expose and ensure accountability for torture, killings and disappearances in Chechnya. Many of these violations are perpetrated by law enforcement and security officials.

Members of the Joint Mobile Group have themselves been threatened, harassed, and unlawfully arrested and detained in connection with their work to assist victims of human rights violations and to hold perpetrators accountable. This has occurred in a broader context of crackdowns and attacks against civil society and human rights organisations across Russia.

The Martin Ennals Award is given annually to an individual or group of human rights defenders for their courageous, committed, grassroots human rights work, often in the face of great personal risk.

The Award winner is chosen by a jury comprised of senior representatives from some of the world’s leading human rights organisations, including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the International Commission of Jurists, and the International Service for Human Rights. It is strongly supported by the City of Geneva.

Accepting the Award, Joint Mobile Group co-founder Igor Kalyapin said, ‘when the international community is watching us it is more difficult for the authorities to take steps against us’.

ISHR Director and Martin Ennals Jury Member Phil Lynch said, ‘Human rights defenders like the Joint Mobile Group have a crucial role to play in promoting human rights, exposing human rights violations, and ensuring redress for victims.’

‘Despite and often because of this work, human rights defenders frequently face threats, attacks, restrictions and reprisals. The Martin Ennals Award serves the purpose of both acknowledging and providing protecting publicity to their courageous and invaluable work,’ Mr Lynch said.

In addition to selecting the Award Laureate, the Martin Ennals Jury also selected two recipients for a Martin Ennals Prize, being Mona Seif and Mario Joseph.

Mona Seif, a woman human rights defender and activist from Egypt, was honoured for her work to promote the rule of law in Egypt and ensure that civilians are not subjected to military trials.

Mario Joseph, a leading human rights lawyer from Haiti, was honoured for his pro bono legal work to protect and empower the poor and to bring to justice former Haitian dictator Jean-Claude ‘Baby Doc’ Duvalier.

For videos and interviews with the finalists, see or visit