Today Human Rights Foundation (HRF) was awarded the Sergei Magnitsky Human Rights Prize for “Outstanding Human Rights Activism” on behalf of its Oslo Freedom Forum program. The Award ceremony took place today, on the 6th anniversary of Magnitsky’s death, in front of 200 guests from around the world at Westminster in London.
“Sergei Magnitsky was a courageous Russian patriot, and it is an honor to receive this human rights award in his memory,” said HRF president Thor Halvorssen. “The Oslo Freedom Forum exists to give those battling against tyranny and injustice, like Sergei Magnitsky, the support and solidarity they need to continue to make a difference."
The Sergei Magnitsky Human Rights Awards honor people and institutions in the worlds of politics, media, and human rights activism that have made extraordinary steps to combat corruption and to promote democracy and human rights. The Sergei Magnitsky Human Rights Awards are granted by Hermitage Capital Management, an investment fund and asset management company specializing in Russian markets. The winners were chosen by Hermitage Capital staff in consultation with Fair Trials International, Global Witness, the Henry Jackson Society, Transparency International UK, and Marcus Kolga (Canadian Eastern European Committee).
Sergei Magnitsky was a Russian lawyer who was tortured to death in a Russian prison after uncovering and exposing corruption in Vladimir Putin’s government. The subsequent cover-up of his murder led to the worldwide “Justice for Sergei Magnitsky” campaign. Launched in 2010 by Bill Browder, the campaign brought about the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act of 2012, passed by the U.S. Congress and made law by President Barack Obama. The U.S. Magnitsky law imposes targeted sanctions in the form of visa bans and the freezing of assets on those involved in Magnitsky’s murder, as well as in other human rights abuses against democracy defenders in Russia. Thirty-four Russian officials and private individuals have been placed on the U.S. Magnitsky sanctions list since the enactment of the law.
The Oslo Freedom Forum (OFF) is an international conference produced annually by HRF since 2009. OFF brings leaders from academia, advocacy, business, media, policy, and technology together to discuss how to make the world a more peaceful, prosperous, and free place. The eighth OFF will take place from May 23-25, 2016.
HRF is a nonpartisan nonprofit organization that promotes and protects human rights globally, with a focus on closed societies.