Raw in War
Anna Politkovskaya Award
End the impunity: Bring those who ordered Anna's and Natalia's murders to justice PDF E-mail

Anna Politkovskaya

Eight years ago today, Russian investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya was murdered. Earlier this year, five men were found guilty of having committed the murder and all of them were given lengthy prison sentences. A sixth man had been sentenced already in 2012.  However, those who ordered the killing and who financed it have still not been found.

Neither have the killers of Anna’s friend and the first recipient of the Anna Politkovskaya Award, Natalia Estemirova, been found. We are convinced that justice will be done only when those who ordered these murders are brought to account.  

We do not know who ordered these heinous crimes. Perhaps they are high-ranking government officials or their friends, or perhaps they are people with no links to the authorities at all. But we believe that the Russian authorities lack the political will to bring to justice those who stand behind the murder of Anna and of Natalia. Both Anna and Natalia spoke truth to power and we are convinced that they were killed to silence them. To reveal the whole truth, the authorities need to identify the people who ordered Anna's and Natalia's murders.

We will continue to call for justice for both these courageous women as long as it takes. And we will remember them and their work for human rights and for justice. 

To mark the anniversary of Anna Politkovskaya’s murder on 7th October 2006, and to honour Anna and other women like her in the worldRAW in WAR (Reach All Women in WAR) annually presents the Anna Politkovskaya Award to a woman human rights defender from a conflict zone in the world who, like Anna, stands up for the victims of this conflict, often at great personal risk. Yesterday, on the eve of the anniversary of Anna Politkovskaya’s murder on Tuesday 7th October, RAW in WAR honoured Vian Dakhil with the 2014 Anna Politkovskaya Award for her courage to speak out and to give a voice to the many Yazidi and Iraqi women and girls whose voices cannot be heard. 

Anna Politkovskaya, the campaigning Russian journalist and outspoken government critic, exposed the brutal treatment of civilians in Chechnya and the North Caucasus at the hands of both the Russian forces and the Chechen fighters. Anna lived a life of courage and truth-telling in the face of grave danger, just like her friend and the first recipient of the Anna Politkovskaya Award, Natalia Estemirova, who was murdered on 15 July 2009.

 

 

 
Vian Dakhil (Iraq): Winner of the 2014 Anna Politkovskaya Award PDF E-mail

 

RAW in WAR’s 2014 Anna Politkovskaya Award is awarded to Vian Dakhil from Iraq, on behalf of all Yazidi and Iraqi women besieged by Islamic State

2014 winner 

Today, Monday 6th October, RAW in WAR (Reach All Women in WAR) celebrates the courage of Vian Dakhil, a Yazidi member of the Iraqi Parliament, who has courageously spoken out and tirelessly campaigned to protect the Yazidi people from the terror of Islamic State.

Ahead of the anniversary of Anna Politkovskaya’s murder on Tuesday 7th October, RAW in WAR honours Vian Dakhil with the 2014 Anna Politkovskaya Award for her courage to speak out and to give a voice to the many Yazidi and Iraqi women and girls whose voices cannot be heard. Vian Dakhil, the only ethnic Yazidi in the Iraqi Parliament, has bravely drawn attention to the fate of the Yazidi people and, despite being injured in a helicopter crash while delivering aid to survivors on Mt Sinjar, she continues to advocate and to mobilize support for her people, for the refugees and for those trapped in towns and villages under the regime of Islamic State. 

On accepting the award Vian Dakhil said: 

“It is a pleasure for anyone to be honored with an award, but it is rare to see a Yazidi person who can feel happy from the bottom of their heart, due to the fact that our girls, women and children are in captivity as hostages of the most dangerous organization in the world. I make no secret of the fact that I’m proud to be honored with your esteemed award, but the real way to honor someone is by protecting their freedom and rights. It is by bringing our prisoners back.”

The RAW in WAR Nominations Committee for the 2014 Anna Politkovskaya Award is deeply humbled by Vian Dakhil's  courage to become the voice of the Yazidi community and by her determination  to campaign for the protection of all Yazidi and other Iraqi women under Islamic State, despite the danger she is facing as a Yazidi woman politician opposed  to Islamic State.  

Yazidi refugees 

On Vian Dakhil receiving the 2014 Anna Politkovskaya Award, Lord Frank Judd, a member of the 2014 Award Nominations Committee, said: 

“It is impossible to praise too highly the courage and integrity of the many women like Vian Dakhil who are standing firm and refusing to be cowed by the sinister, cruel and inhumane threat from Islamic State. Vian Dakhil, with her position in the Iraqi Parliament, is a fine example and a gigantic challenge to all of us who operate within relatively comfortable democracies. Our solidarity with her should be total.”

According to media reports, among those held hostage by Islamic State there are more than 5000 Yazidis, about 3000 of them women and girls. Those who managed to flee report about women and girls being raped and abused, forced to convert to Islam and traded for cash or weapons for the further expansion of Islamic State. 

In her passionate call to the Iraqi Parliament in August 2014 to act and save the Yazidis, Vian Dakhil said: 

My family is being butchered, just like all Iraqis are being killed….And today, the Yazidis are being slaughtered. Brothers, away from all the political disputes, we want humanitarian solidarity. I am speaking here in the name of humanity. Save us! Save us! ….For 48 hours, 30,000 families have been besieged in the Sinjar Mountains. Without water. Without food. They are dying. Seventy babies have died so far from thirst and suffocation. Fifty elderly people have died from the deteriorating conditions. Our women are being taken as slaves and sold in the slave markets. Mr Speaker, we demand that the Iraqi parliament intervenes immediately to stop this massacre!”

Yazidi women 

Several courageous women lawyers, politicians and journalists in Iraq have been detained, disappeared or killed by Islamic State just because they were women who refused to be silenced or who dared to criticize the regime of terror. Vian Dakhil continues to use her status and influence as a politician to support and protect those women and girls who lack the means to reach out to the outside world. 

By presenting Vian Dakhil with this year’s Anna Politkovskaya AwardRAW in WAR honors all women in Iraq, those detained in Mosul or elsewhere in the North, as well as the many unknown Iraqi women who are resisting Islamic State by recording life under its rule and by collecting money and humanitarian aid for those in need. Today RAW in WAR calls on the international community to do all in its power to protect the people of Iraq from the genocidal warfare that has been unleashed against the Yazidis and other minorities; to protect the women targeted by Islamic State; to end the regime of terror; and to bring stability and peace to the region.  

On receiving the Anna Politkovskaya Award, Vian Dakhil will join a group of remarkable women human rights defenders who received the Anna Politkovskaya Award in the past, including Malala Yousafzai (2013), Marie Colvin (2012), Razan Zaitouneh (2011), Dr. Halima Bashir (2010), Leila Alikarami on behalf of the One Million Signatures Campaign for Equality in Iran (2009), Malalai Joya (2008) and Natalia Estemirova (2007).

                          For more information on the 2014 Anna Politkovskaya Award, download the leaflet 

2014 leaflet 

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Anna Politkovskaya Award 2013 - Gallery PDF E-mail
      

                           2013 Anna Politkovskaya Award

Lyse Doucet the Master of Ceremonies for the 2013 Anna Politkovskaya Award is joined by RAW Founder Mariana Katzarova. 

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                           World famous percusionist Dame Evelyn Glennie opens the 2013 Anna Politkovskaya Award  

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 Badac Theatre Company perform an extract of "Anna" a play about  the life of Anna Politkovskaya

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Elena Kudimova, sister of Anna Politkovskaya and Mariana Katzarova, founder of RAW in WAR share memories of Anna 

 2013 Anna Politkovskaya Award 

Singer/Songwriter Lorraine Jordan sings 'Anna' - a song dedicated to Anna Politkovskaya  

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Left: 'Disarm' by Pedro Reyes is performed by Alison Blunt, Rupert Clervaux, John Coxon, Charles Hayward and Ashley Wales using instruments that are made from decommissioned guns.

Right: Gidon Kremer's video address for the 2013 Anna Politkovskaya Award. 

2013 Anna Politkovskaya Award

Sir Nicholas Winton, Guest of Honor at the 2013 Anna Politkovskaya Award and presenter of the award to the 2013 recipient  

2013 Anna Politkovskaya Award
Winner of the 2013 Anna Politkovskaya Award, Malala Yousafzai is presented the award by Sir Nicholas Winton 
 
2013 Anna Politkovskaya Award
Malala Yousafzai, winner of the 2013 Anna Politkovskaya Award 
 
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Malala Yousafzai addresses the audience at the 2013 Anna Politkovskaya Award 
 
2013 Anna Politkovskaya Award
Sir Nicholas Winton and Malala Yousafzai are joined by RAW founder Mariana Katzarova 
 
Elena Kudimova's speech at the 2013 Anna Politkovskaya Award PDF E-mail

Ladies and gentlemen: good evening!

We are here tonight in this magnificent place surrounded by a large number of courageous women.  It is a tremendous privilege.  And it is important that this event focuses specifically on the courage of women.  Courage is very often associated with physical strength.  And as men are stronger, the courage that women display daily in many ways is overlooked. 

This can range from taking physical risks as surgeons or nurses in the front line of conflicts; caring for a large family; or a disabled child with little help or financial support.  This courage can make a difference to the lives of us all, not merely for what it achieves but also the example it sets and the inspiration it evokes.  As Winston Churchill said: "Courage is the first of human qualities because it is the quality that guarantees all others".

 CLICK HERE TO READ THE SPEECH IN FULL 

 
Elena Kudimova - 2013 Anna Politkovskaya Award PDF E-mail

4th October 2013 

Ladies and gentlemen: good evening!

We are here tonight in this magnificent place surrounded by a large number of courageous women.  It is a tremendous privilege.  And it is important that this event focuses specifically on the courage of women.  Courage is very often associated with physical strength.  And as men are stronger, the courage that women display daily in many ways is overlooked. 

This can range from taking physical risks as surgeons or nurses in the front line of conflicts; caring for a large family; or a disabled child with little help or financial support.  This courage can make a difference to the lives of us all, not merely for what it achieves but also the example it sets and the inspiration it evokes.  As Winston Churchill said: "Courage is the first of human qualities because it is the quality that guarantees all others".

My sister, Anna Politkovskaya's special kind of courage was displayed in the field of journalism.  And that was not only the courage to risk the bullying, the attacks on reputation, and general antagonism that goes with writing uncomfortable truths about prominent or powerful people.  It was the courage to confront the grave risk of severe physical harm that can result from high profile investigatory journalism in Russia.  She paid for that courage with her life.  Seven years ago this month an unidentified killer silenced her writings forever by shooting her through the brain and the heart.  This was not a random killing: it was the work of a professional.

But let no one think that this cold, brutal act wiped out Anna's spirit or her contribution to humanity.  As time passes, more and more people become aware of what Anna achieved through her determined fearlessness in the cause of freedom.

Anna was the most amazing person.  To me she wasn't a journalist.  She was my sister and my friend.  She was a loving mother, daughter and wife.  As well as having a ferocious intelligence she was intensely passionate about everything she did.  That made her fascinating to talk to on absolutely any subject, whether it was the origins and future of Russian democracy or the roses she had planted at her country house.  I think everyone who met her was touched by the spirituality which somehow made her seem unsullied by life, or even death.

Some time before she died she was asked by her literary agent to write her biography.  That made her laugh: she was only in her 40s and didn't feel old enough.  Finally she agreed to write just five short chapters.  Each would record an incident where she ought to have died but miraculously survived.  I think, perhaps, that when you face death so often you learn both to laugh at it, but also to appreciate life more fully and live it more intensely.  It shows Anna's zest for life that she intended to write each chapter as a funny detective story. 

We are still coping with the aftermath of Anna's death.  On Monday I shall be in Moscow at the unveiling of a memorial plaque on the building wall of her publisher, Novaya Gazeta.  It took Anna's colleagues seven years to achieve that gesture.  But in seven years no one has been brought to justice for her murder.  At the moment we are in the midst of a second trial which is still dragging on.  Yet we remain optimistic that it will identify some of those responsible, and are enormously grateful for the huge efforts which the prosecutors made over the last four years to help us to see justice done.

Anna can no longer write.  But her lifetime work lives on.  And much more than that, she continues to be an inspiration to all who value freedom.  It is her spirit, and of others like her, that will ensure that liberty will always strive to prevail over corruption and brutality.  She is the true embodiment of women's courage. This award in the name of Anna keeps her memory alive and supports the courage of women journalists and bloggers and activists to speak the truth, like her.

Thank you.

 

 
Malala Yousafzai Speech accepting the 2013 Anna Politkovskaya Award PDF E-mail

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.

I greatly admire Anna’s dedication to truth, to equality, and to humanity. She was a champion for many people who were not able to stand up for themselves. Her desire to help others is a cause to which I dedicate myself.

As a campaigner and a social activist, I am fighting for the rights of half of society, women, and of girls, to be educated, so that we prosper as a global community. This makes sense to me.  The lack of educational opportunities for millions of women around the world has many different causes:

Cultural opposition;

Poverty;

Fear;

Terrorism and violence;

and – all too often – war and conflict.

We should be alarmed that in the 21st Century it is now more dangerous to be a woman than a soldier in conflict.  This war that is being waged against women, these women who are our mothers, our sisters, and our daughters, needs to cease, and it needs to cease now. 

The only way this can and will be achieved is through recognizing the impact of conflict on WOMEN and GIRLS and by ensuring WOMEN and girls are critical to the peace building process.  Let us not forget about UN Resolution 1325. 

In awarding me this prize, you are helping to bring awareness to the world of my cause to which I have dedicated myself. Nothing is more important to me than campaigning for the right to an education. Equipping our women and girls with the tool of knowledge that they need to survive the dangerous terrain upon which they tread, from the very moment they enter this world.  Let us grow our army of foot soldiers to fight our jihad through unity, peace, and prosperity. 

This is the only way we can bring about true harmony in our world today. An eye for an eye only makes the whole world blind. 

So, I would like to accept this award on behalf of all of the women and girls in the world who are standing up for their rights against a backdrop of violence and intimidation. This is for you my sisters. 

Individually they do not have a voice. Collectively, and through events such as this one tonight, we may draw attention to their struggle and we may prevail. With the help of others, every girl in the world should have the opportunity to go to school. It is their right.

I am just one girl who fought for my right to go to school. Not with guns and bombs – but with my pens and my books. Ultimately, pens and books will win out over guns and bombs. Knowledge will always defeat ignorance. Hope will conquer fear.

I was extremely lucky. My family believes in education. My father has campaigned for girls rights for many years and he has always supported me in my desire to campaign for education for all children.

Others are not so fortunate. Children across the globe are imprisoned by poverty, by fear, by violence or by cultural opposition. It is for them that I continue my campaign.

In the United Kingdom, where I go to school now, education is something which is taken entirely for granted. Going to class is a completely normal and expected part of growing up. I want to live in a world where education is taken similarly for granted in every corner of the globe because no-one is excluded from it.

In many parts of the world there is little justice for children - but girls suffer most greatly. The facts are well-known:

Eighty per cent of all human trafficking victims are girls.

In a single year, an estimated 150 million girls are victims of sexual violence.

Seventy per cent of the world’s 1.4 billion poor are women and girls.

We must work together to ensure that girls are protected, respected and helped to flourish.

So, my goal is education for all of the children of the world whatever their colour, their religion, their social status or their gender.

The basic right to an education should be denied to no-one.

Ladies and gentlemen, I am fortunate that people are aware of who I am because it enables me to campaign on these issues, about which I am so passionate. I have been shown great kindness. I am extremely fortunate. Many other people, no less deserving than me, have done great things to further the cause of education. They are unsung heroes.

So, I accept this award for them. I share this award with them.

The challenges may be great but – working together – I know that we will succeed. The legacy of Anna may be the bravery which she showed, and which has helped so many other people to find bravery in themselves also.

As we approach the seventh anniversary of Anna’s death let us remember a brave lady, who worked tirelessly to help others and who stood for the values of peace and humanity. It is these values which we all share – and which we celebrate in her memory.

Thank you.           
 
Remembering Anna Politkovskaya PDF E-mail
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  For more information see here

 
The winner of the 2011 Anna Politkovskaya Award is RAZAN ZAITOUNEH from SYRIA PDF E-mail

  Filmed by: Justin Rhodes and Dimitry Borko | Edited by: Justin Rhodes (www.dokofilms.com)

 

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Leaflet Designed by: Rumen Dimitranov

 
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