Having reported last month on the Atlantic Council‘s questionable idea of giving an award to Gabon’s leader [https://thoolen.wordGabon’s leaderpress.com/2016/09/20/how-awards-can-get-it-wrong-four-controversial-decisions-in-one-week/], I would be amiss in not referring the big spat that this has developed into between Thor Halvorssen of the Human Rights Foundation and Frederick Kempe of the Atlantic Council. In opinion page in The Hill of 26 October does not mince words. The final paragraph sets the tone: “It’s fair to wonder how Kempe and his staff can look at themselves in the mirror every morning when they spend their days defending dictators like Eritrea’s Afwerki, Gabon’s Bongo, and Kazakhstan’s Nazarbayev. The donations might be juicy, but at some point, Kempe’s colleagues and prestigious board members must stop and realize that they are taking the side of tyrants, betraying the very ideals they set out to promote in the first place.” Some of the juicy excerpts:
Iraqi human rights defender Nadia Murad was awarded the Vaclav Havel Human Rights Prize by the Council of Europe (prize money 60,000 euro). She is a Yazidi woman who was tortured and raped by Islamic State (IS). The 23-year-old was bought and sold several times, and subjected to sexual and physical abuse at the hands of the jihadists.
Nadia Murad became the face of a campaign to free the Yazidi people and stop human trafficking after escaping IS in November 2014. Miss Murad, who was named a United Nations goodwill ambassador in September, called for the creation of an international court to judge crimes committed by IS extremists in her acceptance speech in Strasbourg. She went on to brand IS’s attack on the Yazidi a “genocide“, adding: “The free world is not reacting.”