The Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network extends its congratulations to Adilur Rahman Khan, Secretary General of Odhikar, APRRN’s member organisation in Bangladesh, as the 2014 recipient of the prestigious Gwangju Prize for Human Rights Award. He has received the Award jointly with the Mothers of Khavaran of Iran in Gwangju, South Korea at the May 18 Memorial Culture Center, on May 18, 2014. The prize is bestowed to exceptional struggles and honours outstanding and consistent work of defenders for the advancement of human rights, democracy and peace in any part of the world. The extraordinary commitment Adilur has shown in his steadfast assertion for respect, protection and realisation of human rights in Bangladesh has merited this recognition. Adilur has worked relentlessly through Odhikar and several other regional and international forums to promote human rights, democracy and the establishment of rule of law. He has called for accountability for abuses like enforced or involuntary disappearances and extrajudicial killings lest they become seeds of impunity. Like many Bangladeshi human rights defenders, his work has led to reprisals in the form of arbitrary arrest, detention, fabricated charges, judicial harassment and intimidation. Adilur was arrested last year without a warrant and held without charge from 10 August to 11 October 2013 – an apparent retaliation by the Bangladeshi government to a report published by Odhikar that exposed 61 extrajudicial executions undertaken by security forces during demonstrations against the incumbent regime in a police crackdown in May 2013. APRRN applauds the international recognition of Adilur’s important work, and his courage and perseverance in the face of adversity. We thank the May 18 Foundation for initiating this award, inspired by the Gwangju spirit of spreading the lessons learned from its history of struggle and solidarity for democratisation in the region and in the world.
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