On 11th December 2017 the Franco German Prize for Human Rights and the Rule of Law was awarded for the second time since its inception. It is granted to persons who show significant engagement in the protection and the promotion of human rights and the rule of law. It was awarded for the first time in 2016 by the German and French Foreign Ministers Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Jean-Marc Ayrault to honor the work of outstanding human rights activists from around the world, and will be taken forth on an annual basis.
Out of 36 applications commonly handed in to the French and German Foreign Ministries by their respective Embassies of different countries, 15 winners have been selected, among which this year there is also a Sri Lankan. Her name is Shreen Abdul Saroor. She is a human rights defender, who specializes on women’s rights and empowerment and engages in reconciliation work between Muslim and Tamil displaced communities. Challenges faced by Shreen in her own experience of being forcibly evicted and displaced by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam (LTTE) in 1990, along with members of her community, laid the foundation for her activism.
The prize was awarded by the French and the German Ambassador in the presence of the Chief Guest, Hon. Minister Mangala Samaraweera and other high ranking personalities from government and civil society, who gathered at this formal occasion to honor Shreen Abdul Saroor’s tireless efforts and achievements.