Tunisian Lawyer Radhia Nasraoui has been awarded the Kamal Joumblatt Prize for Human Rights in the Arab World by the Friends of Kamal Joumblatt Association. The award was announced and presented to the winner on March 16, 2012 – the anniversary of the death of Kamal Joumblatt.
Nasraoui asserted that she is very proud to have won the award, particularly given its association with the prominent Lebanese militant figure who defended the rights of the poor and sought to champion the cause of the Palestinians.
Nasraoui is the co-founder of the Tunisian Anti Torture Association (ALTT), and has been fighting for human rights for more than 30 years. She was a key figure in the campaign for women’s rights, independent judiciary, and the anti-torture campaigns during the era of ousted Tunisian president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.
“I’m even happier given that the prize is awarded by an Arab country,” she said when asked about the award.
The Kamal Joumblatt Prize is presented once every two years in recognition of individuals who have shown extraordinary commitment and innovation in the advancement of human rights. The award is also meant to honor human rights advocates currently risking their safety in the service of others.
The head of the Friends of Kamal Joumblatt association, former Lebanese minister Abbas Khalaf, confirmed that numerous candidates throughout the Arabic-speaking world were nominated this year, particularly from Egypt. “We decided to nominate Radhia Nasraoui thanks to her prolonged struggle and effectiveness,” Khalaf explained.
“This year we wanted to honor Arab women, which is why we chose Radhia. She is a role model of the struggle of Arab women, and was subjected to oppression for so long under the Ben Ali regime,” he said.
The award is named after Kamal Joumblatt, a Lebanese politician and a prominent figure in the Lebanese Civil War. Jaoublatt was assassinated on March 16, 1977, due to his eminence as a leader among the opposition forces. The Friends of Kamal Joumblatt Association was established to share his thoughts and ideals through publications and lectures. The organization’s membership includes a number of his friends, admirers, supporters, and former comrades who continue to draw inspiration from the teachings of Jumblatt – or the Moallem (the teacher) as he known by his followers.