One of Chad’s first female lawyers, Delphine Djiraibé, has earned one of the world’s most prestigious human rights prizes, the Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders.
The foremost female legal luminary, from the north-central African country, merited the honor along with jailed Kashmiri rights activist Khurram Parvez, and Feliciano Reyna, a rights activist from Venezuela.
The Chair of the Award’s Jury, Hans Thoolen, in a statement, said that “the common denominator between the 2023 Laureates is their courage, passion, and determination to bring the voice of the voiceless to the international arena, despite the ongoing, sometimes life-threatening, challenges they endure.”
“We are particularly proud to honor these three exceptional laureates who have each dedicated over 30 years of their lives to building movements that brought about justice for victims or delivered medicines to the marginalized… they have made human rights real for thousands of people in their communities,” he added.
Delphine Djiraibé did not just cling to the position of being one of the first female lawyers in her country, she put it to good use; she invested more than thirty years into revolutionizing the human rights movement in Chad, challenging the authorities of her country to secure fundamental rights for all Chadians including the right to life, health, freedom of opinion, justice, education, and food.
Sixty-two-year-old Djiraibé is prominent for hatching the trial of Chad’s former dictator, Hissène Habré, who eventually got sentenced in 2016 for war crimes after a brutal rule that lasted from 1982 to 1990.
Djiraibé headed the Public Interest Law Center; during her era as head of the Center, she aided individuals in search of justice for rights violations, focusing on gender-based violence.
The annual Martin Ennals Award, named after the late British lawyer who became the first leader and secretary general of the human rights organization Amnesty International, and managed by the Geneva-based Martin Ennals Foundation, was first given in March 1994 to the Chinese American, Harry Wu.
The prize recognizes organizations that have shown exceptional commitment to protecting and promoting human rights, despite the risks involved. It boosts their profile and garners global support for their work.
The jury consists of representatives from 10 leading organizations, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.
While Djiraibé and the other 2023 laureates have already been recognized for being outstanding in the face of threatening environments, the actual award ceremony will take place on the 16th of February in Switzerland’s second-most populous city, Geneva.
Each awardee is to receive between $22,000 to $33,000.