London, 3 July 2015
Equality and human rights advocates from around the world will celebrate equal rights on Thursday 16 July as former anti-apartheid lawyer, Professor Sir Bob Hepple QC, presents equal rights activists with the inaugural Bob Hepple Equality Award.
The award, established by the Equal Rights Trust, honours activists who have made outstanding contributions to equality over a number of years.
“Equal rights activists around the world face a continual struggle, meet with danger, setbacks and a fight against deeply embedded attitudes and archaic law and policy,” said Sir Bob Hepple,
Honorary President of the Trust.
He continued “The establishment of this award at this time is highly opportune, it not only gives due credit to the winners but it sheds light on their cause so that we, the equality community, can stand in solidarity and strengthen support to their work.”
Pragna Patel has played a major role in advancing black and Asian feminism in the UK through Southall Black Sisters, a group which has campaigned and offered practical support for women escaping domestic violence and forced marriages. Among its milestones, the organisation led a successful campaign to change immigration rules which trapped women of non-British origin in abusive marriages.
Mauro Cabral has played an invaluable role in asserting the dignity and rights of trans and intersex persons, particularly in Latin America, over the last 20 years. In 2012 he played a crucial role in seeing the enactment of Argentina’s Gender Identity Law. Most recently, he helped reform the World Health Organization’s diseases classification which had categorised trans and intersex persons as having mental and behavioural disorders.
“We are delighted that this inaugural award will celebrate two activists who have different equality focuses, located in different parts of the world, but are united by one commonality – their enduring commitment to enhance equality among their contrasting communities,” said Dr Dimitrina Petrova, Executive Director of the Trust.
On Thursday Sir Bob Hepple will elaborate on the full achievements of Cabral and Pragna, and during their acceptance speeches they will give an overview on the evolution of their equality movements, their motivations and challenges. Shami Chakrabarti, Director of Liberty, and Dimitrina Petrova will talk on liberty and equality in the UK and worldwide.