Defending the rights of others against all odds: Liberty Human Rights Awards 2016 shortlist announced

Posted by on 13 October 2016

Our annual Human Rights Awards are a mere two weeks away, and today we are delighted to announce the 2016 shortlist. As ever, it gives us reasons to be hopeful - bringing together fearless young activists, ground-breaking lawyers and pioneering grassroots campaigners.

As the Government remains shamefully reluctant to take its fair share of refugees, while reaffirming its commitment to creating a ‘hostile environment’ for migrants despite a surge in hate crime on UK streets, this year’s shortlist includes individuals and organisations dedicated to bringing their communities together and defending the rights of others against all odds.

The 2016 nominees are:

The Christine Jackson Young Person Award

  • Luke Buckland – for his campaign to end the use of Public Space Protection Orders to criminalise some of the most vulnerable people in society.
  • Maria Munir – for advancing the rights of non-binary and transgender people.
  • RECLAIM – for its work pushing young people from working class backgrounds into positions of leadership through #TeamFuture.
  • Young Minds VS – for bringing young activists together online to campaign for better mental health and wellbeing through its #LifeOnTheWeb campaign.

Human Rights ‘Close to Home’ Award

  • Justice for Laughing Boy, Charlotte Haworth Hird and INQUEST– for their tireless efforts to improve the standard of care provided for people with mental health and learning disabilities following the tragic death of Connor Sparrowhawk.
  • Sisters Uncut – for reclaiming an empty council flat in Hackney in protest against the lack of living space for victims of domestic abuse and converting it into a community hub and safe space for women.
  • Coventry Council, Law Centre and Citizens Advice – for accepting more asylum-seekers under the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme than any other city in the country, while also coordinating an innovative network of support.

Human Rights Arts Award

  • KEO Films for Exodus: Our journey to Europefor shining light on the human story behind the migration crisis and laying bare the dangers faced by those seeking safety for their loved ones.
  • Nikesh Shukla for The Good Immigrant – for challenging common misapprehensions of why people come to the UK and what it means to be an immigrant here today.
  • Alzheimer’s Society’s Singing for the Brain – for developing a network of spaces across the country where those with dementia can express themselves, socialise and build confidence.
  • Rebecca Crookshank for Whiskey Tango Foxtrot – for raising awareness of the sexual harassment and bullying suffered by many within our Armed Forces.

Human Rights Lawyer of the Year

  • Rebekah Carrier, Hopkin Murray Beskine – for her groundbreaking challenges to the Bedroom Tax and benefit cap.
  • Karen Quinlivan QC – for representing families in a number of Northern Ireland legacy cases and successfully challenging cuts to legal aid.
  • Mark Scott, Bhatt Murphy – for his work on landmark litigation to establish safe legal routes for refugee children and vulnerable adults to travel from Calais to the UK.

Two further awards will be presented on the night: The Human Rights ‘Long Walk’ Award, recognising those who have dedicated decades to seeking truth and justice, and the first ‘More in Common’ Award in memory of Jo Cox MP – recognising campaigners working tirelessly to bringing people and communities together.

This year’s event will take place at London’s Royal Court Theatre on Wednesday 26 October.