BIRN Director Shortlisted for Vaclav Havel Prize

Source: Balkan Insight / / By BIRN Staff /

The Balkan Investigative Reporting Network’s regional director Gordana Igric has been nominated as one of three candidates for the prestigious Vaclav Havel Human Rights Prize 2016.
Gordana Igric Photo by BIRN
BIRN’s regional director Gordana Igric. Photo: BIRN
The selection panel of the Vaclav Havel Human Rights Prize, comprising independent figures from the world of human rights and chaired by the president of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Pedro Agramunt, said on Tuesday that BIRN’s regional director Gordana Igric was among the three candidates for the award this year.

The other two nominees are the International Institute of Human Rights – René Cassin Foundation, which has worked since 1969 to promote human rights and peace, and Nadia Murad, a Yazidi rights activist who was kidnapped and detained by Islamic State in Iraq in 2014.

The panel said that Igric was an active defender of human rights and media freedom, reported extensively on war crimes during the Balkan conflicts and set up the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network.

“Through her work, she keeps the flame of freedom of speech alive and puts a spotlight on human rights abuses,” the panel said.

The overall winner of the annual prize, which rewards outstanding civil society action in the defence of human rights in Europe and beyond, is due to be announced at the opening of the autumn plenary session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg on October 10.

“Vaclav Havel’s legacy is more relevant today than ever,” said Agramunt while announcing the shortlist.

“The former Czech President and playwright, who would have been 80 this year, was an enduring symbol of opposition to totalitarianism, and knew at first hand that courage and determination were needed to defend human rights. He was always a great supporter of individuals and NGOs who joined him on that difficult path,” he added.

The Vaclav Havel Human Rights Prize is awarded each year by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in partnership with the Vaclav Havel Library and the Charter 77 Foundation.

Igric began her career as a journalist in Belgrade in 1981 and reported from Bosnia and Kosovo during the wars that followed the dissolution of the former Yugoslavia.
From 1998 to 1999, she worked in the field of human rights as Director of Research for the Humanitarian Law Centre in Belgrade, and as Kosovo Researcher for Human Rights Watch.

She was Balkan project manager at the Institute of War and Peace Reporting from 1999 until 2005, then went on to found BIRN and develop it into a regional network.