GENEVA, Feb. 21, 2016 – A coalition of 25 non-governmental human rights groups today gave former Maldives president Mohamed Nasheed—one of the world’s most famous dissidents and former political prisoners—the 2017 Courage Award, at the 9th annual Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy, a gathering of dissidents.
“It is a great honor to receive this award,” said Nasheed, who thanked human rights lawyer Amal Clooney for helping to free him.
“It’s very encouraging to see so many good people doing good work,” said Nasheed. We may stumble, we may fall, but I assure everyone, we will pick ourselves up and continue with the same work with more vigor than the past.”
“I feel it is imperative for NGOs, diplomats, and politicians to come together and physically safeguard the space for freedom. Suppression anywhere is suppression everywhere. The world is full of people that when push comes to shove will stand up for their families and humanity.”
In 2008, President Nasheed became the Maldives’ first democratically-elected president, before a 2012 coup d’etat reinstated dictatorship. He was brutally arrested in 2015, and sentenced to 13 years in prison. While in the UK for urgent medical treatment he received asylum in 2016.
Nasheed today joined top-name dissidents from Cuba, Russia, Turkey, Tibet, North Korea, Vietnam, Mauritania, Iran, Venezuela, who testified of abuses and urged the U.N.’s Human Rights Council, which opens its annual session next week, to address the human rights records of their home nations.
Powerful testimonies from today’s Geneva Summit speakers:
Mohamed Nasheed, former President of the Maldives and Geneva Summit Courage Award winner, addresses the 9th Annual Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy – see quotes below, followed by full prepared remarks. On his abuse by authorities in the Maldives: “I’ve spent the good half of my adult life in