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Bishkek (AKIpress) - Spravedlivost, a non-governmental organization based in Jalal-Abad in southern Kyrgyzstan, has been named as the 2014 winner of the Max van der Stoel Award, for its outstanding work in improving the position of national minorities in the OSCE area.
The international jury, led by OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities Astrid Thors, said: “Spravedlivost is widely respected for its activities to promote human rights in Kyrgyzstan. It has worked for many years on issues related to the protection of the most vulnerable groups, including national minorities.
“The organization has developed a network of like-minded NGOs to monitor serious human rights violations and provide legal support for victims of torture. It has for many years proved to be making a considerable contribution to the protection of ethnic Uzbek and other communities, and to reconciliation between communities in Kyrgyzstan.
“During the 2010 events in Osh and in the region, and their aftermath, it took a vocal and active lead in supporting the victims, and provided free legal assistance to ethnic Kyrgyz and Uzbeks accused of involvement in inter-ethnic violence. Its multi-ethnic staff has proved to be courageous, especially when facing threats and harassment due to the NGO’s efforts to promote impartial justice in the tense environment of southern Kyrgyzstan.”
Spravedlivost, which was established in 1994, has also worked to monitor conditions and counter torture and ill-treatment in places of detention – police custody, pre-trial detention facilities and prisons – in Osh, Jalal-Abad and Batken, supported by the Centre in Bishkek through its Osh Field Office. Through its network, it provides medical doctors who assist detainees and detect torture at an early stage.
The Max van der Stoel Award will be presented to the winner on 2 October during a ceremony in The Hague by the Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans.