The award and 10,000 euros will be given to him on 25 April at the Maxim Gorki Theatre in Berlin for his “exceptional commitment to human rights”, Amnesty said in a statement. The cash award will be provided by Amnesty Germany’s foundation, Stiftung Menschenrechte, Förderstiftung Amnesty.
“For many decades now, Tiphagne has been tirelessly and bravely standing up for human rights. His organisation’s invaluable work includes campaigning against discrimination and the use of torture in India,” director of Amnesty International Germany Selmin Çaliskan said.
Tiphagne is the founder of People’s Watch — a Unit of the Centre for Promotion of Social Concerns that has been fighting for the protection of human rights across India. It started as People’s Watch Tamil Nadu in the southern Indian state around 20 years ago, but spread its mission across India in the last several years.
Every two years, Amnesty Germany gives awards to individuals or organisations fighting for the cause of human rights under difficult circumstances. Tiphagne is the first Indian to receive the Amnesty award, The Times of India reported.
Çaliskan said the award to Tiphagne is meant to motivate other human rights activists and organisations fighting for the rights of humans in India.
“Henri Tiphagne and his organisation People’s Watch, while fighting to ensure the rights of others, are themselves being harassed and hampered in their work by the authorities. And there are other civil society organisations in India that are in a similar position. The award is therefore meant to send a strong signal of support to the whole of the Indian human rights movement,” Calışkan said in the statement.
People’s Watch has also done commendable job on the educational front. At least five lakh students from 18 Indian states have so far enrolled under its human rights education programmes.