The 2014 International Hrant Dink Award was presented to laureates Şebnem Korur Fincancı from Turkey and Angie Zelter from United Kingdom, on September 15, 2014, with a ceremony organized by the Hrant Dink Foundation held at the Cemal Reşit Rey Concert Hall in Istanbul.
Ara Dinkjian initiated the award ceremony with his piece entitled Keesher Bar. The awards ceremony was hosted by Olgun Şimşek. In her opening remarks, Hrant Dink Foundation President Rakel Dink, pointed out that “We are living through an era where murderers are rewarded, torturers are white-washed and murders of environment and workers are continuing” and underlined the importance of resistance and keeping the hope alive.
After the opening remarks, Ara Dinkjian took the stage with Ari Hergel to give a musical performance.
Before the awards presentation, Inspirations, a group of people and institutions from Turkey and from all corners of the world who multiply hope for the future with the steps they take, were saluted with a film acknowledging their achievements. The Inspirations of 2014 included Galata Fotoğrafhanesi and the Photography Foundation in Turkey which organized the “The Photographer Children of Soma Workshop” in Elmadere village, following the great Soma mine disaster, in order to provide support to children during the difficult process they faced; the Palestinian non-governmental association, ADDAMEER [Arabic for ‘conscience’], providing support for Palestinian political prisoners held in Israel and Palestine prisons; Ta’ayush [Arabic for ‘living together’], a group of Palestinians and Jews, to end the Israeli occupation and to achieve full civil equality through daily non-violent direct-action; the Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety in Azerbaijan working against governmental restrictions on freedom of expression and press freedom; the Kazova workers in Turkey who occupied their workplace when their factory was closed and they were fired without compensation, and continued production; the AEK supporters’ group Original 21 which unfurled a banner, featuring Alexandros Grigoropoulos and Berkin Elvan, victims of police violence on both sides of the Aegean Sea; a group of citizens in Japan who prepared a video in Turkish, expressing the shame they felt of the Prime Minister of Japan regarding their government’s sale of a nuclear power station to Turkey; the Viasna Human Rights Centre in Belarus providing assistance to political prisoners and their families; the Earth Tables in Turkey during the month of Ramadan, in protest of luxurious iftar banquets organized at five-star hotels; Bytes for All from Pakistan working for freedom of expression and for the prevention of gender-based violence on the internet both in Pakistan and across the world; the movement that was initiated under the name Oy ve Ötesi/Votes and Beyond in order to find independent polling clerks for the 2014 local elections in Turkey because pro-government election rigging has been widespread, became an association in April 2014; the July 21 Association in Italy committed to the protection of the rights of the Roma and Sinti communities in Italy; and, Kıymet Peker who pulled her chair into the path of the bulldozer and started sitting to protect the park in her neighborhood from being demolished.
The award statue was presented to Angie Zelter from United Kingdom by the Head of the Award Committee Ali Bayramoğlu and Zeina Alhajj from Greenpeace. . In her award speech, Zelter stated that Britain systematically undermines and violates international law. It supports and trades weapons with some of the most repressive regimes in the world and mentioned the current developments as: “Currently it (UK) supplies arms to Israel and refuses to condemn Israeli war crimes and breaches of humanitarian law in the occupation of the West Bank and siege of Gaza.”
The award statue was presented to Şebnem Korur Fincancı from Turkey by the Jury members Baskın Oran and Saturday Mothers / People representatives Hanım Tosun and İkbal Eren. . In her award speech, Korur Fincancı gave voice to her embarrassment upon receiving the Hrant Dink Award: “I feel embarrassed because I am receiving this award as I merely try to fulfil the responsibility of being human. In addition to feeling incredibly honoured, I feel embarrassed because I am receiving the same award extended to Saturday Mothers who have been looking for people lost by the state for years. I feel embarrassed because this award means so much. I feel embarrassed because in my mind I have done what needs to be done and that does not call for an award. I feel embarrassed because what needs to be done is still not readily done in these lands. The fact that the Armenian Genocide is still discussed behind closed doors, the denial of Kurds, their annihilation, the fact that the purging out of indigenous people of this land is celebrated every year, that you live with the shame of the fact that in a neighbourhood populated by the ever-shrinking Armenian community a school is named Talat Paşa, a road Ergenekon, a street Türk Beyi, that we feel the plight of all oppressed people in our hearts but that we have failed in dressing their wounds. The embarrassment of this all…”
The Jury of the International Hrant Dink Award 2014 consists of Baskın Oran, Gerard Libaridian, Kenneth Roth, Kumi Naidoo, Mary Kaldor, Oya Baydar, Rakel Dink and 2013 International Hrant Dink Awardees Nataša Kandic and Saturday Mothers / People.
Alper Görmüş, Amira Hass, the Conscientious Objection Movement of Turkey, Baltasar Garzón, Ahmet Altan, Lydia Cacho, İsmail Beşikçi, International “Memorial” Society Russia, Nataša Kandic and Saturday Mothers / People are the former laureates of the International Hrant Dink Award.
The award ceremony was broadcast live on www.hrantdink.org and www.hrantdinkodulu.org. All the details of the ceremony were followed in 3 languages (Turkish, English and Armenian) on Facebook and Twitter on the accounts of Hrant Dink Foundation and the award.