Henri Tiphagne: The Indian Who Won Germany's Amnesty International Human Rights Award
The Amnesty Germany on Monday awarded its eighth Human Rights Award to Indian lawyer and human rights defender Henri Tiphagne for his relentless commitment and advocacy in the fight advocacy in the fight against torture and discrimination in India. The award ceremony took place at the Maxim-Gorki-Theatre in Berlin.
“Through his organization People’s Watch, Henri Tiphagne has been supporting victims of state violence for more than 20 years now. As he helps them claim their rights and seek redress, he is himself being targeted by the authorities,” said Selmin Çalışkan, Director of Amnesty International Germany.
Mr Tiphagne found the organization People’s Watch in 1990 with a vision to see the society without any caste-based discrimination and human rights violations. People’s Watch started to research and document human rights violations and provide legal representation to those affected by such crimes. The organization also actively supports human rights education. In 1997, Henri Tiphagne founded an institute offering training for teachers as well as mentoring around school human rights education programmes. So far, they have reached around 500,000 children in 18 Indian states.
Between 2012 and 2014, the government of India had restricted the workings of People’s Watch, by repeatedly freezing its bank accounts. During its last state-imposed assessment, People’s Watch filed an appeal and in a first hearing in July 2014, the judge decided in the organization’s favour.
The Human Rights Award is presented by Amnesty International Germany in recognition of individuals or organizations campaigning for human rights under difficult circumstances. The award aims to honour and support the awardees’ exceptional human rights commitment and raise awareness of their work with the German public. It is endowed with 10,000 euros, provided by Amnesty International Germany’s foundation, Stiftung Menschenrechte, Förderstiftung Amnesty. The Human Rights Award was presented for the eighth time in 2016.