The 14th International Hrant Dink Award laureates were announced during the online ceremony which took place on Thursday September 15 at 20:00. The award was granted to Human Rights Foundation of Turkey for its invaluable contribution to the building of a world free from torture and ill-treatment, the advancing of democracy, and the protection of human dignity and to Shaharzad Akbar for her resolve to put an end to the gender discrimination rampant in her country and for her consistent dedication to mobilising the international community through global solidarity among women, despite the grave women’s rights crisis.

The award ceremony was narrated by İpek Bilgin in Turkish and Tuğrul Tülek in English. We thank Mahir Günşıray and Eric Nazarian for taking part in the ceremony with their voice overs. The ceremony was held at the 23.5 Hrant Dink Site of Memory. Chairman of the Award Ceremony, Ahmet İnsel welcomed the guests on behalf of the foundation. Ahmet İnsel greeted the audience with the words "Tonight, I want to share with you our belief that this struggle for democracy in our country will get stronger, take roots in society, and that the dominating will and forces will be neutralized by democratic means." The keynote speaker of the ceremony was Human Rights Activist Justice Albie Sachs. Albie Sachs ended his speech by focusing on hope and solidarity with the words "These award ceremonies are not simply to single out individuals who have done something special and notable in respect of human rights, it is to keep alive that little flame that burns so brightly in the deepest darkness." 

“Inspirations”, which salutes people and organizations in Turkey and around the world who inspire humanity with their actions, who take risks and forge new paths, was screened at the ceremony. This year’s Inspirations include individuals and initiatives from Mexico to Afghanistan, from the USA to Poland, from Russia to Brazil, who inspire people and humanity with their actions on numerous issues such as human rights, sexism, economic inequality, the climate crisis and war. 

In addition to these, special musical performances were a part of the ceremony. They included Melike Şahin's interpretation of the "Adana Lament" and Barabar's performance of "O Yâr Gelir", which Hrant Dink loved to listen to, both of which were performed by these artists for the first time. Along with Gaye Su Akyol’s impressive performance, the ceremony heard melodies from different genres from #CloseNeighbourArmenia. Under Arto Tunçboyacıyan’s guidance, Artyom Manukyan with his cello performance, New Gray and Hi Violin Quartet also took the stage. 

In his speech on behalf of the laureate Human Rights Foundation of Turkey, Metin Bakkalcı reiterated their resolve to continue the struggle against human rights violations with the words “...we are strengthening our work with the aim of creating an environment where torture and other gross/serious human rights violations, which is our special field of work, will come to an end. Our main goal is to realise the dream of a world without torture and to create an environment where there is no need for institutions like ours and thus to end our own existence.”

Please click here to read the full text of Metin Bakkalcı’s acceptance speech on behalf of the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey.

In her acceptance speech, laureate Shaharzad Akbar said “We are also calling on the global feminist movement and the human rights movement, to stand in solidarity with the Afghan people. To not normalize Taliban’s misogyny. To amplify the voices and demands of the Afghan women on the ground for “bread, work, freedom” and the full range of their human rights.” 

You may read the full text of Shaharzad Akbar's speech here.

The jury of this year’s award includes 2021 International Hrant Dink Award laureate, women’s rights defender, lawyer Canan Arin, 2021 International Hrant Dink Award laureate, investigative journalist Maria Ressa, photographer, author and human rights defender Shahidul Alam, feminist and rights defender Ishtar Lakhani, author and lawyer Burhan Sönmez, jurist and academician Turgut Tarhanlı, human rights defender and academician Ni̇lgün Toker, journalist, producer and scriptwriter Nouneh Sarkissian, author and climate justice activist Terry Tempest Williams, thespian and actor Serra Yilmaz and president of Hrant Dink Foundation Rakel Dink.

The International Hrant Dink Award was previously presented to investigative journalist Maria Ressa, women’s rights activist and lawyer Canan Arın in 2021; human rights activist Osman Kavala and women’s rights activist Mozn Hassan in 2020; Nebahat Akkoç, the founder of KAMER, who has been working to raise awareness about women's human rights for many years, and Agnes Kharshiing, who has been fighting for the rights and environmental rights of the poor, women, children and disadvantaged people in the region where she lives in India in 2019; human rights defender Murat Çelikkan and human rights organization Mwatana were awarded in 2018; lawyer Eren Keskin who is bringing human rights violations to the agenda of both Turkey and the international community, and Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, who draws attention to the inequalities and human rights violations all over the world in 2017; Theresa Kachindamoto, chief of the tribe working on children's human rights and education rights in Malawi, and to the Diyarbakır Bar Association fighting for human rights and the rule of law in 2016; women's rights advocate Samar Badawi from Saudi Arabia, and KAOS GL fighting for LGBT rights and equality in Turkey in 2015; Şebnem Korur Fincancı, forensic expert and human rights advocate, and activist Angie Zelter in 2014; to human rights advocate Nataša Kandić and Turkey’s longest continuing act of civil disobedience who are searching for their lost loved ones Saturday Mothers/People in 2013; writer İsmail Beşikçi and human rights organization International 'Memorial' Community in 2012, journalist, writer Ahmet Altan and journalist, human rights defender Lydia Cacho in 2011; Turkey Conscientious Objection Movement and jurist Baltasar Garzón in 2010; journalist-writer Alper Görmüş, and journalist-writer Amira Hass in 2009.

The award ceremony was streamed on the social media accounts of the Hrant Dink Foundation. All details about the night were shared simultaneously with the ceremony on the Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts of both the foundation and the award with hashtags #HrantDinkÖdülü, #UmuduÇoğalt, #DayanışmaGüçlendirir; #HrantDinkAward, #BuildHope, #StrongerTogether; #ՀրանդՏինքՄրցանակ, #բազմապատկէյոյսը, #զօրակցութիւնըուժէ.

Please click here to see the 2022 International Hrant Dink Award booklet.