Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Aminatou Haidar wins RFK Memorial Human Rights Award

All right! 21 years after Moroccan police arrested her for a pro-referendum demonstration, Aminatou Haidar is winning the RFK Memorial Human Rights Award. There was talk of this Monday, but it's twice as exciting now that it's official. Suzanne Scholte (who knows a little about human rights awards herself) nominated Haidar, and the usual cast of characters, including the irascible Frank Ruddy, helped out with references.

In the press release I linked above, Ted Kennedy congratulates Haidar for winning and for her human rights work. Here's the best part:
“The RFK Human Rights Award not only recognizes a courageous human rights defender but marks the beginning of the RFK Center’s long-term partnership with Ms. Haidar and our commitment to work closely with her to realize the right to self-determination for the Sahrawi people,” said Monika Kalra Varma, Director of the RFK Memorial Center for Human Rights.
Getting a first family of American politics behind self-determination? That's a pretty good deal. There's a reception in November, so if I go to that we'll get pictures and, fingers-crossed, video.

I feel like this is a coming-out party for US Western Sahara activists. There've been great scores in the past, but I think this is the biggest thing in the past couple of years. We're here, we want a referendum, get used to it.

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