THE 2017 GRANT IN MEMORY OF ANNA DAHLBÄCK
Eren Keskinhas been awarded the Grant in Memory of Anna Dahlbäck 2017.
The Turkish lawyer Eren Keskin has for many years and with great empathy and judicial skill fought for the basic values of democracy. She has defended human rights both in her profession and working in independent organisations such as the Turkish Human Rights Association and Legal Aid For Women Who Were Raped. As a result of her dedication Ms Keskin has been subjected to unfair treatment, persecution and prosecutions.
Eren Keskin's speech delivered by Sidar Güney the 8th of september 2017
First of all, I would like to thank Anna Dahlback Memorial Foundation for being honoured with this award, especially given the current situation, which very much calls for international solidarity.
Today, we are going through a tough process in the field of fundamental human rights in our territory. The right for free expression is being massively oppressed. Citizens cannot freely express themselves against official policies of the state.
Currently, 180 journalists and human rights defenders are imprisoned in horrible conditions.
I, myself, have been prosecuted for 143 lawsuits related to the position of ‘Co-Chief Editor’ for the daily newspaper Özgür Gündem as a figurehead, which publishes under intense governmental suppression. Sometime soon, these lawsuits will be concluded, leading to more prison sentences and hundred of thousands Turkish Lira fines.
In previous years, as a human rights lawyer, I have been subjected to such suppressions. I was assaulted twice by men armed with guns, imprisoned, and have suffered many threats.
However, if a person chooses the correct, just actions both as herself and as a human beings, those actions become a lifestyle. I believe that the only true power is ‘courage’ -- the courage to struggle against all human rights violations. Yet, human beings need support to act bravely. This support seems more meaningful when it comes from far away. A wonderful feeling arises from knowing that there are people who recognize your struggle – who think of you. That’s why I am so thankful to you for bestowing this award.
I would have very much preferred to address you in person. However, I am banned from travelling abroad. Even so, I believe that these hard time will eventually come to an end. I want to thank you so much, to you and to other all defenders of human rights, who have contributed to the formation of hopes for a better future. Much love to all you…