Rajan Hoole and K Sritharan, co-founders of the University Teachers for Human Rights (UTHR), Jaffna in North Sri Lanka, and Pierre Claver Mbonimpa of Burundi, have been conferred the Martin Ennals award for Human Rights Defenders.
Announcing the awards on Friday, Amnesty International says that Hoole and Sritharan have reported, at great personal risk, the effects of the armed conflict in North-East Sri Lanka on children, women, displaced persons and the minorities for 18 years. The UTHR have made ground breaking investigations into atrocities committed by the LTTE as well as the Sri Lankan government forces. The LTTE had sentenced both to death.
Mbonimpa, a former Burundi policeman, who was in jail on a false charge, later formed an NGO to fight for prisoners' rights, including the 9,000 persons currently in the country's overcrowded jails. He campaigned against torture fearlessly, using the public media.