Media Initiative for Human Rights was awarded by The Embassy of the Netherlands with Human Rights Embassy Tulip
Reward ceremony took place in Kyiv, December, 5. “This is our fifth ceremony. Your work is highly appreciated, we have been cooperating with your organization for a long time”, – mentioned Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Ukraine Jennes de Mol.
Mr. Ambassador as well added that the MIHR is doing an important job in documenting Russian crimes to establish the truth in the war against Ukraine. Mr. De Mol, as well stressed that this work is extremely important for justice particular in context of prosecution those who are responsible for the downing of flight MH17, when 192 citizens of the Netherlands died.
First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Emine Dzhaparova as well was present at the award ceremony. She emphasized an importance and inevitability of punishing Russia for crimes committed.
During the ceremony co-founder of MIHR Olha Reshetylova said that this was the second attempt to conduct the award ceremony. The first one was on November 15, when Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands was visiting Kyiv.
“At that day Ukraine faced an extremely powerful missile attack. The enemy didn’t give us a chance to get a reward. And while we were preparing for the ceremony, one of the victims, Olena Shevchenko, was going to go to the morgue to pick up body of her sister. MIHR together with Olha was searching for her sister, who disappeared after one of mortal shelling of Hostomel in March 2022. Olena Shevchenko traveled with MIHR to the Hague, where she told her story. She spoke about the sister at the Russian embassy in the Netherlands. People of the Netherlands listened and supported her. A couple months late we`ve learned that Ludmila was killed. She died, like many other victims of Russian crimes. At the same time, there are still many victims among us. Many were forcibly deported to the Russian Federation or are in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine. Therefore I want to dedicate this award to people who fought, are fighting and will fight for our freedom. Who pay the highest price for it, find strength, share their stories with us so that we can tell the world the truth”, – Reshetylova added.
She as well thanked the Embassy of the Netherlands for the constant support of the Media Initiative for Human Rights and the organization’s projects.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands has been awarding human rights defenders with the Human Rights Tulip Award since 2008. Every year, the commission chooses winners from activists or human rights organizations around the world.
Since 2018, the embassies of the Netherlands in some countries have also awarded “Embassy Tulips” to human rights defenders and activists. Since then, the “Human Rights Embassy Tulip Award” has come to Ukraine.
In Ukraine, in 2018, Dmytro Shchebetyuk, co-founder of Dostupno.UA, received the award for his contribution to the protection of the rights and prevention of discrimination of people with disabilities. In 2019, Crimean lawyer Liliya Gemedzhy, who defends the rights of Ukrainian political prisoners, in particular, Crimean Tatars, and the leader of Odesa Automaidan Vitaly Ustymenko for the fight against corruption. In 2020, the laureates were the head of the “ZMINA” Center for Human Rights, Tetyana Pechonchyk, who advocates for freedom of speech and fights against torture and discrimination in occupied Crimea. Also, Marta Chumalo is the co-founder of the organization “Women’s Perspectives” and is the leader of the campaign to create a shelter for women suffering from domestic violence. In 2021, the laureates were Oksana Romaniuk, executive director of the Institute of Mass Information, and Olena Shevchenko, head of the organization «Insight», which defends the rights of LGBTI people and women.
Media Initiative for Human Rights (MIPL) was founded in September 2016 by journalists Maria Tomak and Olga Reshetylova. Immediately after the creation of the organization, the main activity of MIPL was journalistic investigations of human rights violations followed by advocacy support of cases. Currently, the MIPL combines monitoring and documentation of human rights violations in connection with the armed aggression of the Russian Federation, coverage, investigation of individual episodes, analysis of collected data and advocacy activities. For the team, it is important not only to talk about the problems of human rights violations in the occupation and the war zone, but above all to influence their solution and encourage appropriate response to them both at the national and international levels.