The Equal Rights Trust celebrates the recognition of Huda Al-Sarari – a Yemeni human rights defender who has played a pivotal role in exposing secret prisons and detention sites operated by foreign governments in Yemen – as one of three Aurora Humanitarians, one of whom will be named the Aurora Prize Laureate in October 2019. Huda has been a trusted colleague of the Trust as we have worked to expose inequality and discrimination in Yemen and her exemplary work, including for women prisoners, has been an inspiration to us.
The Aurora Prize was established in 2015 on behalf of survivors of the Armenian Genocide to recognise individuals whose actions have had “an exceptional impact on preserving human life and advancing humanitarian causes”. Huda Al-Sarari was selected from amongst 523 candidates by a prestigious Selection Committee comprising former Presidents, Nobel Laureates, UN representatives, academics, philanthropists, humanitarians and human rights defenders. Huda’s fellow 2019 Aurora Humanitarians are Mr. Mirza Dinnayi, the Director of Luftbrücke Irak, who has supported hundreds of women to flee ISIS controlled territories, and Mr. Zannah Bukar Mustapha, the Director of Future Prowess Islamic Foundation, who has been responsible for negotiating the release of multiple children from Boko Haram.
The individual chosen as the Aurora Prize Laureate will be honoured with a $100,000 grant to support their work and will have the opportunity to “continue the cycle of giving” by nominating organisations that inspired their work for a $1,000,000 award. The Equal Rights Trust is proud to be one of three organisations that has been nominated by Huda to share in such an award, should she be named Aurora Prize Laureate. Speaking on Huda Al-Sarari’s selection, Joanna Whiteman, Co-Director at the Equal Rights Trust, said:
The Equal Rights Trust is delighted to hear of Huda’s recognition by the Aurora Foundation. Huda’s courageous struggle to expose brutal rights abuses in Yemen is an inspiration and she would be a worthy winner. Huda’s work is inherently risky, particularly in the midst of a war. However, the additional risks that Huda faces as a female human rights defender, undertaking such work in a country which consistently ranks worst in the world for gender inequality, cannot be overstated. Her bravery and persistence against the odds are truly remarkable.
We are honoured that Huda has nominated the Equal Rights Trust to receive Aurora support if she is named Aurora Prize Laureate. We have been supporting the work of equality defenders in Yemen since 2014, and Huda’s cause is the Trust’s cause. Should Huda win, the money would help the Trust to provide support to hundreds of equality defenders like Huda, fighting discrimination and inequality and exposing rights violations faced by the most marginalised in Yemen and elsewhere.
Huda Al-Sarari’s recognition as an Aurora Humanitarian is a testament to her courageous and dedicated work exposing brutal rights abuses against some of the most marginalised and disadvantaged groups in Yemen, a country that is experiencing both a humanitarian and human rights crisis as a consequence of the ongoing conflict. The challenges faced by Huda and her fellow Yemeni human rights defenders have been documented by the Equal Rights Trust in our reports “From Night to Darker Night: Addressing Discrimination and Inequality in Yemen” (June 2018), which provides a detailed analysis of Yemen’s legal framework on equality alongside discussion of patterns of discrimination based on extensive desk-based research, and “Sifting the Grain: 6,000 Testimonies of Discrimination and Inequality from Yemen” (January 2019), which presents an analysis of the extensive field research on discrimination, inequality and other human rights abuses conducted in Yemen by field research teams between 2015 and 2017.
For more information on the Aurora Prize, please see: https://auroraprize.com/en/
For more information on Huda Al-Sarari’s recognition as an Aurora Humanitarian, please click here.