HRDA honour for Fr. Stan Swamy

Father Swamy worked most of his life to empower the  Adivasi community

Fr Stan SwamyImag:

Human Rights Defenders Alert – India (HRDA) on June 2, 2022 will award martyred human rights defender Father Stan Swamy ‘2022 Martin Ennals Award’ for his exemplary work protecting and defending the rights of Adivasis in Jharkhand.

The 84-year-old Jesuit priest was a beloved activist till his final days in Taloja jail where he suffered a cardiac arrest. He had been jailed under trumped up charges in the Bhima Koregaon case, despite the fact that he was nowhere near the location of the violence! 

A peace loving man, he dedicated his life to advocating and protecting the legal rights to land, water and forest rights of Adivasis and forest dwellers in the state. His Bagaicha became a haven for those who were being targeted and persecuted by the State, simply for demanding what’s already theirs as per the law.

“It is with utmost pleasure I am informing you that human rights defender Fr. Stan Swamy will be honoured at the 2022 Martin Ennals Award Ceremony. Certainly, this is an acknowledgment of the work and legacy that Fr. Swamy has left behind for all of us to carry on,” said Working Secretary Henri Tiphagne.

The Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders honours individuals and organisations that have shown exceptional commitment to defending/ promoting human rights, despite risks. For the HRDs who continue the fight, this award provides much needed protection, raises their public profile and garners international support.

The award is managed by Switzerland’s Geneva-based Martin Ennals Foundation. There are currently over 60 defenders associated with the Martin Ennals Award in 34 countries. This time, the award remembers the belated activist who was accused in the Bhima Koregaon case and kept in jail while suffering Parkinson’s disease.

Tiphagne appealed to all for maximum participation and to spread the word about the ceremony with colleagues/associates and encourage them to register and then pass it along in their respective networks.

“It will be a moment for all of us to come together and pay our tribute to one of the greatest human rights defenders that India has witnessed. I sincerely hope for the cooperation and virtual participation of each of you in the ceremony,” he said. 

In the Bhima Koregaon case, many activists are still in jail on false accusations. On May 4, the Bombay High Court rejected a review petition filed by Varavara Rao, Vernon Gonsalves and Arun Ferreira. Of them, only Varavara Rao is out on medical bail.


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