Cao Shunli (曹顺利) Nominated for Martin Ennals Award 2014

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Cao Shunli (曹顺利) Nominated for Martin Ennals Award 2014

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Electronic version with Bios, Photos and Video:

Cao Shunli (曹顺利) & Her Legacy (1961-2014):


Geneva, Wednesday 23 April 2014

Cao Shunli (曹顺利) Selected as

One of Three Final Nominees for the

Martin Ennals Award 2014

This award is selected by the International Human Rights Community (See Jury Below) and given to Human Rights Defenders who have shown deep commitment and face great personal risk. The aim of the award is to highlight their work and protect them through increased visibility.

Cao Shunli (China): She died in detention on March 14th after being denied medical attention for known health conditions until it was too late. Cao Shunli was taken away by airport security on September 14th shortly before boarding a flight in order to participate in the Human Rights Council. Then, she disappeared. Chinese authorities only acknowledged her detention a month later, when she was arrested on charges of “creating a disturbance”. Her health seriously deteriorated in detention, as she developed tuberculosis and was suffering from a liver condition, but Cao was denied treatment, and numerous applications for medical release were refused. Since 2008, Cao vigorously advocated for civil society participation in China’s preparations for its Universal Periodic Review in 2009 and 2013, and the drafting of its national human rights action plan. For this, she spent over two years in the “re-education through labour” system and was subjected to repeated harassment. This is a tragic example of reprisals suffered by human rights defenders who work with international human rights mechanisms.

Cao Shunli and Her legacy (1961-2014):Our impact may be large, may be small, and may be nothing. But we must try. It is our duty to the dispossessed and it is the right of civil society.” – Cao Shunli

“The Chinese government’s ruthless persecution of Cao Shunli can mean only one thing: that Cao Shunli’s work matters, and civil society participation in the UN’s work on human rights matters,” said Renee Xia of Chinese Human Rights Defenders.

“The Human Rights Council, its President and other UN Member States must now support an independent investigation into her death, and hold China accountable for this reprehensible reprisal against a committed and peaceful human rights defender,” said Michael Ineichen of the International Service for Human Rights.

Other Nominees:

Adilur Rahman Khan (Bangladesh), a human rights defender working on a wide range of human rights issues, such as illegal detention, enforced disappearances, and extra-judicial killings. He is currently facing criminal prosecution for documenting the extrajudicial deaths during demonstrations against the government. His organization, Odhikar, is one of the few independent voices left in Bangladesh.

Alejandra Ancheita (Mexico), Founder and Executive Director of ProDESC. For over 15 years she has worked with migrants, workers, and indigenous communities to protect their land and labour rights vis a vis transnational mining and energy companies. Ms Ancheita and ProDESC have been subjected to surveillance, a defamation campaign in the national media, and a break in at their offices.

The Award will be presented on Oct. 7th at a ceremony hosted by the City of Geneva.

The main award of the human rights movement. The Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders (MEA) is a unique collaboration among ten of the world’s leading human rights organizations to give protection to human rights defenders worldwide. The Jury is composed of the following NGOs:

–          Amnesty International,

–          Human Rights Watch,

–          Human Rights First,

–          Int’l Federation for Human Rights,

–          World Organisation Against Torture,

–          Front Line Defenders

–          International Commission of Jurists,

–          EWDE Germany,

–          International Service for Human Rights

–          HURIDOCS.

For further information, please contact: Michael Khambatta +41 79 474 8208, or visit

Renee Xia, International Director, CHRD, +1 240 374 8937,, visit, or on Twitter @CHRDnet

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