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Father Stan Swamy Honoured by Geneva Human Rights Foundation

Father Stan Swamy

Father Stan Swamy, a Jharkhand Jesuit priest and tribal rights activist arrested in the Bhima Koregaon case and who died in July 2021, received a “special, posthumous homage” at the Martin Ennals Awards in Geneva on Thursday.

The award is widely regarded as the Nobel Prize for Human Rights Defenders. This year’s winners are Daouda Diallo from Burkina Faso, Pham Doan Trang from Vietnam and Abdul-Hadi Al-Khawaja of Bahrain.

“Father Stan was nominated for the award in the spring of 2021, but he, unfortunately, died before receiving it,” said Hans Thoolen, chairman of the award jury.

Before he died at the age of 84, Swamy had spent a lifetime working with Adivasi communities on their land, forest and labour rights. He had filed a PIL about the arrests of thousands of young adivasis whom investigating agencies had labelled “Naxals”.

According to the NIA, which had arrested him with other activists such as lawyer Sudha Bharadwaj under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) in 2020, Swamy was a part of the banned CPI (Maoist). “The jury wished to shine a light on Father Stan’s many contributions to human rights, which cannot be eclipsed by his unjust incarceration by Indian authorities,” said Thoolen.

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