The 2012 Hellman/Hammett Awards, presented by Human Rights Watch, honored 41 individuals from nineteen countries around the world for their work in pursuing freedom of expression in the face of political persecution or human rights abuses.
Most of these women and men are journalists or writers involved in human rights, environmental rights, academic, political, and artistic activities. Many have been persecuted, arrested, and jailed as a result of their work in communicating to the public news and events that governments want keep under wraps. They have been subject to discrimination. Some live in exile, some in prison, and others remain anonymous, fearing for their lives.
Free expression is a central human right, enshrined in article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which declares that “everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive, and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.” The Hellman/Hammett awards are important in supporting the ongoing struggle for freedom of expression and human rights worldwide
“Writers Honored for Commitment to Free Expression,” Human Rights Watch, December 20, 2012, http://www.hrw.org/news/2012/12/20/writers-honored-commitment-free-expression
Student Researcher: Marjorie M. Harris, College of Marin
Faculty Evaluator: Susan Rahman, College of Marin