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Al-Sarari was chosen as the 2020 laureate for her work exposing torture and enforced disappearances in UAE-run secret prisons in Aden

Yemeni activist Huda Al-Sarari wins prestigious Martin Ennals International Human Rights Defender Award

Yemeni lawyer and human rights activist Huda Al-Sarari won the 2020 Martin Ennals Human Rights Defenders Award in Geneva on Wednesday for exposing torture and enforced disappearances in UAE-run secret prisons in Aden. 

At the ceremony, attended by activists and human rights organizations, Al-Sarari paid tribute to the mothers, victims and families of the abductees. 

"I dream of a world where the rights of all Yemeni people will be respected. A world where no mother will have to suffer from the loss of her child,” Al-Sarari said while receiving her award as this year's laureate. 

“I was threatened and intimidated, and my 20-year-old son was assassinated in Aden because of my human rights stances,” she said. 

Despite the threats endured by Al-Sarari and her family, she repeatedly appealed to the international community to stand decisively against the UAE’s human rights abuses, judicial tampering, arrests, assassinations, kidnappings and destruction of state institutions, she said. 

This is not the first time Al-Sarari was internationally commended for her courageous work in Yemen. Last year, she won the Aurora prize for collaborating with Human Rights Watch to expose the widespread torture and abuse in detention centers in southern governorates. 

The two other finalists for the Martin Ennals award were Mexico's Norma Ledezma, who has worked against genocide and enforced disappearances, and South African Sizani Ngobanh, who fought for women's rights to education, property and inheritance for four decades. 

The award is one of the highest forms of recognition for human rights defenders and is presented annually on behalf of the British foundation, Martin Ennals. Ennals served as Amnesty International's first Secretary-General from 1968 to 1980. 

The award finalists are selected by a jury of 10 leading human rights NGOs, including Amnesty International, Human Rights WatchThe International Organization against Torture.


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