Free Syrian activist Razan Zaitouneh and her colleagues
It has been reported that non-voilent activist and human rights lawyer, Razan Zaitouneh and her team have been kidnapped in Damascus on the early morning of Tuesday, 10 December. Razan was the winner of the Anna Politkovskaya Award in 2011 for her courageous work to expose the atrocities taking place against civilians in Syria. According to reports, Razan was kidnapped from her home in the Douma suburb on the outskirts of Damascus, along with her husband, Wael Hamadah, and two members of her team - Nazem al-Hamadi and Sameera Alkhalil - by a group of unidentified masked and armed men. It is still unclear whether she was taken by government forces of President Bashar al-Assad's regime or Islamist rebels - both of which she has criticized as threats to the Syrian people’s uprising against the government.
Despite the threat to her life, Razan has continued living in Damascus where she launched in 2011 the Violations Documentation Centre (VDC) , an independent, civilian NGO, which monitors and documents the violations of human rights in Syria. According to reports, new threats against Razan Zaitouneh began after she started investigating abuses by rebels. According to her colleagues, the Army of Islam, a rebel group that has come to dominate the area, had been hostile to Razan because of her secular views.
We at RAW in WAR are outraged and saddened by the news of Razan's kidnapping and we fear for her and her colleague’s safety and for their life. Her courage and dedication to uncovering the truth about the torture, disappearances and killing of civilians in Syria continues to inspire us all.
Our thoughts are with Razan and her team at this time. We call on the Government of Syria to investigate and reveal the whereabouts of Razan Zaitouneh and her colleagues and to take urgent steps to free them, as well as if detained by government forces – to immediately release them. We also call on European Union and world leaders to use their influence with the Syrian authorities and the Syrian opposition to secure the release of Razan and her colleagues.
Malala Yousafzai: Winner of the 2013 Anna Politkovskaya Award
VIDEO: Malala Yousafzai receives the 2013 Anna Politkovskaya Award
VIDEO: Extended film of the 2013 Anna Politkovskaya Award Ceremony
Malala Yousafzai Speech accepting the 2013 Anna Politkovskaya Award
October 4th 2013
Dear friends, honoured guests, High Commissioner, I am moved beyond words to be honoured with this great award.
Anna Politkovskaya was a dedicated journalist and human rights activist. She campaigned passionately about issues which concerned her. She spoke out about causes which other people dared not speak about. She was brave. She was an inspiration.
I have been very fortunate over recent months to have been given a number of awards from different organisations all over the world. Each one has been extremely special to me in its own way. I am particularly proud to have been chosen to receive an award which bears Anna’s name. I hope that I and many other women may be as brave as she was.
Today marks the one year anniversary of the attempt to silence Malala Yousafzai and end her campaign for girls’ rights to go to school. Ahead of the seventh anniversary of the murder of Russian campaigning journalist, Anna Politkovskaya on Monday 7th October, RAW in WAR honoured Malala with the 2013 Anna Politkovskaya Award for her courage to speak out when nobody else dared, for her strength to give a voice to the many women and girls, whose voices cannot be heard, and for her passionate belief in promoting education for girls.
Today marks the seventh anniversary of the murder of the Russian investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya. To date, thekillers and those who ordered her murder have still not been brought to justice.
We the undersigned are supporters of the human rights organisation RAW in WAR (Reach All Women in War). On Friday 4 October, we presented the annual Anna Politkovskaya Award, set up to recognise women defending human rights in zones of war and conflict, often at great personal risk, to Malala Yousafzai (Pakistan), the brave 16-year-old girl, who was shot by the Taliban on 9 October last year for campaigning for education for girls, which is banned by the Taliban.