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Campaigning Award Nominees 2015

Recognises campaigners who have fought censorship and challenge political repression

 Amran Abdundi

Winner

Amran Abdundi

Women’s rights activist

Kenya/Somalia border

Amran Abdundi is an activist who, through various channels, has worked to make life safer in northeastern Kenya – supporting women who are vulnerable to rape, female circumcision and murder. Despite death threats, Abdundi’s Frontier Indigenous Network (FIN) has set up shelters along the dangerous border between Kenya and Somalia, an area where militant terrorist groups pose a threat to many. Alongside these shelters, FIN also maps out conflict areas, targets the illegal arms trade which fuels local conflict and has set up radio listening groups. As a way of reaching women in remote areas, these circles help to dispel myths about tuberculosis treatment, female property ownership and to tackle doctrines spread by the area’s terror organisations.

Acceptance speech: Amran Abdundi: This award is for the marginalised women of northern Kenya

Full profile: Campaigning nominee Amran Abdundi

Yaman Akdeniz and Kerem Altiparmak

Internet rights activists

Turkey

Akdeniz and Altiparmak, Turkish cyber-law experts and internet rights activists, have worked tirelessly against a government which has repeatedly used online censorship to restrict access to information. In 2014 the Turkish government extended the reach of already controversial new internet legislation – 2007’s Internet Act – and immediately used it to block Twitter and YouTube. Akdeniz and Altiparmak took their government to the highest court in Turkey, eventually helping to overturn the Twitter ban. YouTube was reactivated shortly after. Akdeniz and Altiparmak continue to protest against the stifling legal framework, which is still in place and has allowed the Turkish government to block over 50,000 websites. Full profile: Campaigning nominees Yaman Akdeniz and Kerem Altiparmak

Yaman Akdeniz and Kerem Altiparmak
 Abdul Mujeeb Khalvatgar

Abdul Mujeeb Khalvatgar

Journalism advocate

Afghanistan

Afghan journalist and executive director of the media advocacy group Nai Supporting Open Media in Afghanistan, Abdul Mujeeb Khalvatgar has dedicated himself to helping free and fair journalism grow in his country. Through Nai, Khalvatgar monitors violence against journalists in Afghanistan, offers training and is behind an all-female radio station. All of this in a country where, since 2001, more than 40 journalists have been killed and hundreds of attacks have been recorded, many believed to come from the government. Full profile: Campaigning nominee Abdul Mujeeb Khalvatgar

Soldiers’ Mothers

NGO

Russia

The Russian NGO Soldier’s Mothers has, since it was set up in the last days of the Soviet Union, offered families reliable information about activities of the country’s famously secretive military. In 2014, their work has been crucial in determining the actuality of the conflict in Ukraine. Using information gathered from mothers and wives of servicemen, Soldier’s Mothers estimated that up to 15,000 Russian troops had been sent over the border into Ukraine in August last year, contradicting Putin’s denial of military involvement. Members of Soldiers’ Mothers have suffered smear campaigns and arrests in an attempt to silence them, but continue to offer support and information. Full profile: Campaigning nominee Soldiers’ Mothers

 Soldiers’ Mothers
‘Rechts gegen Rechts’ and Zentrum Demokratische Kultur

 

‘Rechts gegen Rechts’ and Zentrum Demokratische Kultur

Event/NGO

Germany

As an alternative to the government’s attempts to ban extremist marches came Rechts gegen Rechts, run by Berlin-based NGO ZDK and the brainchild of employee Fabian Wichmann. ZDK arranged for neo-Nazi protesters marching through the small town of Wunsiedel to be unwittingly sponsored €10 for every metre they walked. On reaching a ticker-tape finish line, extremist marchers were – much to their bemusement –congratulated on the €10,000 they’d just raised for EXIT, a scheme helping neo-Nazis get away from extreme and violent right-wing environments. ZDK has run other innovative, non-violent campaigns with the aim of rehabilitating neo-Nazi offenders. Full profile: ‘Rechts gegen Rechts’ and Zentrum Demokratische Kultur