Israeli NGO B’Tselem and its Palestinian counterpart Al-Haq, both of whom advocate an "end to the Israeli occupation," are among the five laureates of the 2018 Human Rights Prize of the French Republic, the United Nations (UN) announced Wednesday.
This year’s award honors individuals or organizations that promote human rights, particularly those that are harassed or persecuted for their work.
The award ceremony will be held on the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, December 10, at the Ministry of Justice in Paris.
The ceremony will be attended by Prime Minister of France Édouard Philippe, French Justice Minister Nicole Belloubet, and President of the French National Consultative Commission on Human Rights Christine Lazerges.
In addition to Al-Haq and B’Tselem, who are sharing the honor, the 2018 Human Rights Prize winners include human rights defenders from China, Colombia, Nigeria and Belarus.
The prize for outstanding achievements in the field of human rights has been awarded by the National Consultative Commission on Human Rights under the title "Liberty - Equality - Fraternity."
Past recipients include human rights defenders from Nicaragua, Ivory Coast, Haiti, Cambodia, Colombia, Rwanda, France and others.
“It is a particularly special honor to receive this award—together with our colleagues from Al-Haq organization. We, at B’Tselem and Al-Haq, share the same values and the same realization: that only by ending the occupation can there be a future based on human rights, equality and liberty,” B’Tselem Executive Director Hagai El-Ad said.
General Director of Al-Haq, Shawan Jabarin, said that "it is a great honor for Al-Haq to receive this prestigious award jointly with our colleagues at B'Tselem, who are our partners in the struggle for justice and a better future free from oppression and occupation. Together, we are working to end the 'culture of impunity' so that Palestinians can enjoy the full realization of their human rights."
Al-Haq is a Palestinian human rights organization based in Ramallah with deeply-rooted connections to the terror group the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).
The choice of this year’s winners was criticized in Israel. Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev said the B’Tselem organization and its members should be ashamed of themselves.
"This is not a source of pride. Hagai El-Ad and other members of the organization, which has long been a Trojan horse against the State of Israel and IDF soldiers, have no reason to be happy. This is not a prize —but a badge of shame," she declaimed.
“When B’Tselem receives a prize together with representatives of Al-Haq, a Palestinian anti-Israel organization with Shawan Jabarin—who is part of the PFLP—at its head, and acts to boycott Israel, this is a great shame and not an honor. Once again B’Tselem is celebrating an achievement against Israel and IDF soldiers. This is an organization that should be rejected and its activities should be stopped,” Regev added.