The Bruno Kreisky Foundation, which bears the name of Federal Chancellor Bruno Kreisky, has awarded Austria’s oldest, renowned human-rights award at the Kassensaal of Oesterreichische Nationalbank on 20 May 2019.
The international jury for the Award of the Bruno Kreisky Foundation for Human Rights unanimously agreed to grant the award to Amal Fathy, the Egyptian activist, for her outstanding services to secure human rights.
Amal Fathy is a member of the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms (ECRF), which is a civil-society organization that documents cases of torture, deportation and killings without judicial proceedings in Egypt. In May 2018 she published a video on her Facebook page in which she decried the sexual harassment to which she had been exposed on that day and the passive way in which the government deals with such incidents, as well as the deteriorating living conditions and the poor human-rights situation in Egypt. In consequence, she was arrested, kept in pre-trial detention for eight months and interrogated. Her video served as a basis for charging her with “spreading fake news to upset national security” and for publishing an „indecent video“. In court, Amal Fathy defended the statements which she had made in her video as being true, and she argued that sexual harassments are widely common in Egypt. On 30 December 2018, three days after being released on condition, a two-year prison was imposed on Amal Fathy. She is currently exposed to the risk of being arrested at any time so that the prison term can be enforced.
In addition to the Award of the Bruno Kreisky Foundation for Human Rights granted to Amal Fathy for her services to human rights, awards were also granted to the organization “Shalom Alaikum – Jewish Aid for Refugees” and the project “KENNE DEINE RECHTE” (Know Your rights) for their important contributions in Austria towards ensuring human rights.
In its work “Shalom Alaikum – Jewish Aid for Refugees” – set up by a group of committed Jewish women in autumn 2015 – follows the principle enshrined in the Thora: “Love thy neighbor as thyself” (Lev. 19.18b). The small team of volunteers is in close everyday contacts with refugee families and assists them for longer periods of time. Donations are used 100% for the benefit of refugees, as the board members provide the necessary infrastructure free of charge. People who were deprived of their homes and families and often have nothing left but their human dignity, need counselling, consolation and support. We help them as our equals by giving them intensive, individual care and support for their families and their life in society so that they can resume their own lives in dignity. We are not only their helpers but also their persons of trust. The fate of our families due to the NS power take-over in March 1938 motivated us to take this initiative: One country after the other closed its borders to Jewish refugees. We are the grand-children of that generation and know how grateful our families were to all those persons who helped them to survive. With this Jewish background Shalom Alaikum advocates humanity, justice and the coexistence of religions. We want to give to refugees whatever they need and seek urgently: To be welcome in our society.
KENNE DEINE RECHTE (Know Your Rights) was launched by the Human Rights Advisory Board of the City of Graz in 2010 as a project that set itself the goal of involving young people in order to raise and promote their interest in human rights. The participants (14 to 24 years) form an editorial team every year and publish their articles, interviews, videos or photo series on human-rights and socio-political issues on the platform www.kennedeinerechte.at. The platform also offers basic information about human rights in the form of questions and answers. The ETC Graz, which is the business office of the Human Rights Advisory Board, provides organizational and content-related support. The project team members Mag.a Alexandra Stocker und David Weiss, MA consider it to be their task to act as enablers: “The young people do not lack in motivation or ideas. We provide the setting and offer them a mouthpiece to voice their concerns. More than 60 outstanding participants were trained as human-rights journalists in recent years. Together with us, they contribute towards raising awareness for human-rights issues.” At present, the projects for the tenth year are being prepared. Interested young people between the ages of 14 and 24 years can apply to join the editorial team 2019/20.
Explanatory statement of the Jury:
Amal Fathy was honored for her commitment to human rights and sexual harassment in Egypt. She is a member of the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms and currently exposed to the risk of being arrested at any time in order to execute a prison sentence imposed on her.
The association "Shalom Alaikum - Jewish Aid for Refugees" has been awarded for its services in the area of support and care to families who have fled to Vienna. Since fall 2015, members of the Association have been personally supporting refugees to life their own lives self-determined and in dignity.
The project “KENNE DEINE RECHTE” (KNOW YOUR RIGHTS) was honored for its contribution to the promotion of knowledge and interest in human rights. Since 2010, articles and videos on human rights have been published and young participants trained to be human-rights-journalists as part of the project.