FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(November 20, 2014 | Washington, D.C.) Mr. Adilur Rahman Khan, a leading human rights lawyer from Bangladesh, today received the 2014 Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award. Presented annually by the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Human Rights (RFK Center), the award recognizes Mr. Rahman Khan’s courageous work uncovering the most serious human rights violations in Bangladesh and initiates a partnership to support his efforts to promote and safeguard human rights. Today’s presentation coincided with what would have been Robert F. Kennedy’s 89th birthday.
“There is no more fitting tribute to my father than the presentation of this award to Adilur Rahman Khan,” said Kerry Kennedy, President of the RFK Center. “Robert Kennedy would have admired Adil’s courage and persistence in documenting his government’s complicity in a wide range of human rights abuses. We are inspired and humbled by his work to improve the lives of all Bangladeshis, and we are proud to honor him with the 2014 Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award.”
Ethel Kennedy, the wife of Robert F. Kennedy, presented the award to Mr. Rahman Khan earlier today in a ceremony on Capitol Hill that featured remarks from Kerry Kennedy and Congressman Steny Hoyer (D-MD).
Mr. Rahman Khan is a human rights defender and attorney who has established a nationwide network of human rights defenders in Bangladesh. As the Secretary of Odhikar, a human rights organization in Bangladesh, Mr. Rahman Khan leads one of the most trusted watchdog organizations in the country, monitoring an impressive scope of issues such as restrictions on freedom of expression, abuse by security forces, enforced disappearances, extrajudicial killings, torture, border killings, violence against women, and elections. Mr. Rahman Khan holds degrees in law from Dhaka University in Bangladesh and Vrije Universitiet in Belgium.
Mr. Rahman Khan was selected from a group of 70 nominees after a months-long process by a prestigious panel of judges that consisted of: Dean Claudio Grossman, Professor of Law and Dean of American University, Washington College of Law; Ms. Maria Otero, former Under Secretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy and Human Rights; and Dr. William Schulz, President and CEO of the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee.
“I thank the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights for honoring me with this prestigious award,” said Mr. Rahman Khan. “This award is an acknowledgement of the tireless work of human rights defenders presently at risk. The people of Bangladesh joined the liberation struggle in 1971 to establish a democratic country, based on equality, human dignity and social justice. Their dreams remain unfulfilled, as they now face extra judicial killings, enforced disappearances and torture and ill treatment in custody. Human rights defenders are persecuted and the freedoms of media and association are curtailed. This award will contribute to highlight these violations in my country; and will encourage and empower the human rights defenders and victim families associated with Odhikar to continue the struggle for human rights, social justice and democracy.”
About the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award
The Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award was established in 1984 to recognize those individuals who stand up to oppression at grave personal risk in the nonviolent pursuit of human rights. The Human Rights Award Laureates have made significant contributions to their countries through years of dedicated work. Laureates are chosen through an exhaustive annual nomination and selection process with nominations submitted from all over the world.
The Robert F. Kennedy Center offers not only a monetary contribution to their cause, but also forges strategic partnerships with the recipients of the Award. Recent RFK Human Rights Award Laureates include Ragia Omran (Egypt, 2013) Librada Paz (United States, 2012), Frank Mugisha (Uganda, 2011), and Abel Barrera Hernández (Mexico, 2010).
About the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights
The Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights was founded by Robert Kennedy’s family and friends in 1968 to continue his work for a more just and peaceful world. The RFK Center joins front line defenders in advocacy and litigation; partners with teachers to educate students about human rights; and engages the financial community about sustainable investing.
The Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit charitable organization.
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