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Geneva: 2012 Alkarama Award Ceremony Highlights Dire Human Rights Situation in Gulf Region

Dr Mohamed Al Roken (UAE) and Dr Saud Al Hashimi (KSA) - the 2012 Alkarama Award co-laureates - were awarded for their contribution to the promotion and protection of human rights in the Gulf region in a ceremony held on Friday 7 December 2012 in Geneva. The laureates, who are currently detained for having called for greater civil and political rights, were represented by their lawyers and relatives. The ceremony was attended by the Mayor of Meyrin, several human rights defenders and organizations, representatives of the United Nations, Permanent missions, journalists and students.
 
The ceremony opened with a speech by Alkarama Executive Director Mourad Dhina who after mentioning the "undeniable changes brought by the 'Arab Spring'", recalled the audience that "the struggle for the protection and promotion of human rights in the Arab world is not yet accomplished," specifically in the Gulf region. Dhina said that despite the fact that "some wish to view the Gulf region as being untouched by calls for freedom, dignity and respect for human rights for geo-strategy or financial reason," serious human rights violations occur there, in particular repression of human rights defenders. Along with the President of the Alkarama Foundation Abderahmane Al-Nuaimy, he honored the tenacity of the laureates in their struggle to "spread the culture of human rights, the respect of fundamental liberties" and their courage in "highlighting the serious human rights violations occurring" in their countries.

Then, the Mayor of Meyrin Pierre-Alain Tschudi took the floor to pay a tribute to the laureates and quoted the famous Uruguayan writer Eduardo Galeano to remind us of the dangers of impunity in the light of human history: "For history not to repeat itself, we must constantly remember it; impunity that awards the offense, encourages the offender. And when the offender is the state itself that violates, steals, tortures and kills without any accountability. Hence, it will give permission to the whole society to violate, steal, torture and kill. And democracy will pay the price for it, in short and long terms."

After the screening of two film-portraits about the laureates, the Mayor of Meyrin presented the Alkarama Award 2012 to Khalid Al Roken and Dr Qaseb Al Oteibi, the representatives of the laureates. Both express their deep gratitude towards our foundation on behalf on their relatives.

The ceremony was concluded by a short poetic and musical interlude: two members of Alkarama Foundation recited excerpts of a poem written by the laureate Dr Saud Al Hashimi while in detention.

At the end of the ceremony, independent journalists that said they had been sent by the Emirati Permanent Mission to the UN began verbally provoking and insulting the participants of the ceremony. This is not the first time such an incident happens with these individuals. In fact, a few months ago, they had created a disturbance during a side event at the Human Rights Council. Alkarama is currently investigating the incident during the Alkarama Award.

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For more information about the laureates of the 2012 Alkarama Award, you may want to view the two short-documentaries prepared about them for the ceremony:

- Film portrait on Dr Mohamed Al Roken (UAE), click here 

- Film portrait on Dr Saud Al Hashimi (KSA), click here