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Human Rights Tulip awarded to Pakistani organisation Aahung

‘Aahung owes its success to the ability to give human rights a human face,’ foreign minister Frans Timmermans said today on presenting the Human Rights Tulip to the organisation’s director, Ms Sheena Hadi. Aahung actively promotes awareness of sexual and reproductive health among young people and adults in Pakistan.

‘The Aahung method is to engage a wide range of stakeholders, like school teachers, medical staff, religious scholars and parents, to talk about difficult subjects,’ Mr Timmermans said. ‘Its efforts to promote human rights are not abstract. They involve the people we share our daily lives with and who are part of the local community. They teach men and women of all ages life skills to help them deal with issues like puberty, gender discrimination, HIV/AIDS, peer pressure and family planning.’

Aahung, based in Karachi, will be able to use the €100,000 prize to further develop, innovate and scale up its human rights work, so that more people in as many places as possible will be able to benefit.

For the past six years the Netherlands has marked the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by awarding the Human Rights Tulip to human rights defenders who have shown exceptional moral courage in protecting and promoting human rights. In selecting this year’s winner, special attention was given to human rights defenders working in innovative ways.

Awarding the Human Rights Tulip to Aahung is more than simply the end of a selection process, Mr Timmermans said. It is the start of a long relationship between Aahung and the Netherlands. The Human Rights Tulip was awarded this year in cooperation with the legal consultancy and research institute, The Hague Institute for the Internationalisation of Law. HiiL will work with Aahung to extend the reach of the latter’s successful approach.

The director of the Pakistani organisation Aahung, Sheena Hadi, holds the Human Rights Tulip 2013

The director of the Pakistani organisation Aahung, Sheena Hadi, holds the Human Rights Tulip 2013

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