Sunday, October 19, 2008

The following announcement is republished from the Anarkismo site. It does, however, need some background.
The International League for Human Rights had its origin the the Ligue Français pour la Défense de Droits de l'Homme et du Citoyen , founded in the late 19th century. It was reformed in 1942 in New York via a collaboration of European refugees and The American Civil Liberties Union. It was the 'International League for the Rights of man' until 1976 when it acquired its present name. Since 1947 the ILHR has had consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council. It also has consultative status at the Council of Europe, the International Labour Organization, the Africa Commission and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. The present headquarters is in New York with representation in Geneva.
Their annual Carl von Ossietzky Medal is named after the German pacifist Carl von Ossietzky (October 3, 1889- May 4, 1938) who fought against militarism and for international understanding both before and during the Nazi dictatorship. He was born in Hamburg and left school at the age of 17 to become a journalist. Through his journalistic career he was associated with the left liberal press in his country. His first brush with the law was in 1913 when one of his anti-military articles attracted the attention of the authorities. He was drafted into the army in 1915 despite poor health, and he returned from the war as a pacifist propagandist. He was associated with the German Peace Society.
Ossietzky served his first prison terms for his activities in 1927 because of an article criticizing the Reichswehr for condoning paramilitary organizations. In 1929 he wrote an ar5ticle exposing Germany's secret rearmament and was sentenced to Spanau prison in 1931. On February 28, 1933 he was arrested on the morning after the Reichstag fire by the secret police. He was sent to a Berlin prison and from there to Sonnenburg concentration camp and finally to the Esterwegen-Papenburg concentration camp where he died in 1938 after severe mistreatment.
He was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1934 and awarded it in 1938. The Nazi authorities refused to release him from prison to collect the award, and they demanded that he refuse it. Ossietzky refused to comply with this demand. The German Propaganda Ministry lied and said that he was free to go to Stockholm to collect the prize. The German press was forbidden to comment on the case, and the government declared that no German could accept any Nobel Prize in the future.
To read more about Ossietsky see his Nobel Prize biography. Also the Wikipedia article on him (less complete).
The prize this year was a joint award to the Israeli Anarchists Against the Wall organization and the Palestinian Bil'in Popular Committee. The Anarchists Against the Wall organization was founded in 2003 to oppose the construction of the separation wall that Israel is building to seal off Israel from Palestinian territory. During the construction of the wall large tracts of Palestinian land were 'sliced off'' to the Israeli side. Since 2003 AATW has had both successes and failures with its direct action tactics in cooperation with Palestinian villages affected by the wall's construction. The latest focus is the village of Bil'in where the residents have struggled against the expropriation of their lands and the construction of the wall since late 2004.
See the above two sites for much more detail. Here's the story.

Anarchists Against the Wall and Bil'in Popular Committee awarded Carl von Ossietzky Medal:

Friday October 17, 2008 11:02 by International League for Human Rights

International League for Human Rights honors two groups for their courageous dedication to human rights

International League for Human Rights In the spirit of Carl von OssietzkyThe Executive Board Berlin, October 13 2008
Press Release

Awarding of the 2008 Carl von Ossietzky Medal

The awards ceremony for this year's Carl von Ossietzky Medal will be held on December 7, 2008 from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. in the “Haus der Kulturen der Welt” (the House of World Cultures), Berlin.

(The press conference will take place on December 6, 2008 at 10:00 a.m. in the House of World Cultures.)

The Board of Trustees of the International League for Human Rights honors two groups for their courageous dedication to human rights:
*Anarchists Against the Wall from Israel

*Bil’in Popular Committee, Bil'in, Palestine,

I sraeli journalist and peace activist Uri Avnery will speak as guest of honor at the awards ceremony. He will also speak at the press conference.

Sixty years after the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was proclaimed by the United Nations' General Assembly (on December 10, 1948), the Carl von Ossietzky Medal for outstanding service in the realization of basic and human rights has special significance.

May 4, 2008 was the 70th anniversary of the death of Nobel Peace Prizewinner and pacifist Carl von Ossietzky, who, because of his staunch resistance to militarism, war and racism, was taken by force to the Sonnenburg concentration camp (located near the present-day Polish city of Slonsk), where he was cruelly tortured. With this in mind, the International League for Human Rights' Board of Trustees salutes two organizations that - with the courage of their convictions, in keeping with Carl von Ossietzky's spirit - struggle jointly for a common cause.

Anarchists Against the Wall and the Bil'in Popular Committee exemplify the nonviolent resistance to the Israeli-built "Separation Wall" on Palestinian land, as well as steadfastness in the diverse grass-root campaigns against the Israeli Occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

These groups incarnate a forward-looking culture free of exclusion and destruction, demonstrating thereby the possibility of living together in peace and freedom.

They also consistently represent their cause on the international stage: The Bil'in village, for example, sued two Canadian real estate companies in Quebec's Superior Court for their part in constructing the Israeli settlement of Modi'in - mostly on Bil'in's land.

The two groups were founded by young activists around the same time:
*Anarchists Against the Wall was formed in 2003 to protest Israel's construction of the Wall.
*The Bil'in Popular Committee was founded in December 2004 in reaction to Israel's planned - and in the meantime fully realized - "barrier fence" that separates the village of Bil'in from 60% of its fields and olive groves.

The two groups owe their effectiveness to their politically independent, self-determined, transparent and nonviolent practices. Friday demonstrations at the barrier fence in Bil'in have been organized by the village's popular committee every single week since 2005, leading to the formation of a broad international network of support and protection. The Israeli Border Police shoot tear gas, rubber- and steel-coated bullets, and - most recently - stink bombs at the demonstrators at close range, untroubled by causing the nonviolent protesters serious bodily injuries.

By honoring Anarchists Against the Wall and the Bil'in Popular Committee, the Board of Trustees of the International League for Human Rights highlights the organizations' common conviction that helps them surmount great obstacles and dangers in their mutual ideal of a worthy - and shared - future. Their exemplary activities are – in the age of globalization - of great significance for the realization of the ideals of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights - well beyond Israel/Palestine.

With his comrade Rachel Avnery, Uri Avnery will take part in the awards ceremony where he will speak as the guest of honor. He will also speak at the press conference. In 2001 Uri Avnery received - along with Rachel and the Israeli peace group, Gush Shalom - the Stockholm Alternative Peace Prize. He was further honored by the City of Osnabrück with its Carl von Ossietzky Prize in 2002. Already in 1995, Uri Avnery had received Osnabrück's Erich-Maria Remarque Prize, and in 1997, the Aachen Peace Prize.

Internationale Liga f. Menschenrechte (ILMR) - FIDH/AEDH Deutschland

International League for Human Rights - FIDH/AEDH Germany

Haus der Demokratie und der Menschenrechte

Greifswalder Str. 4

Fon: ++49+30 396 2122

Fax: 396 21 47


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