GENEVA, May 1, 2013 – In response to new revelations, a top contender for the world's premier human rights prize -- one of three Final Nominees selected by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch (HRW) and eight other NGOs --todayacknowledged having posted "anti-Israel tweets." See UN Watch's original protest here.
Mona Seif was announced last week as one of three finalists for the Martin Ennals Prize for Human Rights Defenders, considered "the Nobel for human rights."
But UN Watch yesterday exposed Seif's tweets advocating terrorism, and protested the nomination together with two courageous Egyptian rights activists, Amr Bakly and Maikel Nabil, who believe in peace and non-violence and oppose hate.
In a letter to HRW director Ken Roth, UN Watch asked him to cancel Seif's nomination. We also appealed to former Swiss President Micheline Calmy-Rey, head of the foundation; to the nine other NGOs on the jury, along with the chair, Hans Thoolen; and to prize patron Theo Van Boven, a Dutch law professor and former UN expert. None has yet responded.To help with UN Watch's Twitter campaign, see below.
UN Watch's protest, supported by many on Facebook and Twitter, now appears in numerous news sites, including today'sWashington Times ("Human Rights Watch selects proponent of terrorism as finalist for award"), and in popular blogs ("Disturbing: Radical anti-Semite nominated for international human rights award"). More major media are expected to report the story. The Israeli press is expected to remain oblivious.
Earlier today, human rights prize nominee Mona Seif responded on Twitter:
"Just a note: allmy anti-Israel tweetswere written in English precisely so that the international community celebrating our revolution understands thatwe support the resistance of the palestinian nation against israel. I didn't fool anyone or hide my thoughts...I support a nation's right to resist occupation!Sending me tweets calling me a terrorist won't change the fact that[the] real terrorist is Israel."
Although dozens of Seif's supporters in the Arab world have rallied to her side, and endorsed her anti-Israel comments, none has denied that she support the deliberate targeting and killing of Israeli civilians, nor has Seif herself denied it.
Moreover, though they sang her praises up until yesterday, not a single international human rights group has defended Seif since the UN Watch revelations.
In a similar incident in March, Egyptian activist Samira Ibrahim went to Washington to receive a State Department award when suddenly it was revealed that she had cheered a terrorist attack against Israelis and made other antisemitic comments. Though initially she claimed her Twitter account had been hacked, she eventually acknowledged having made "statements hostile to Zionism," for which she refused to apologize. Her award was canceled.
Say No to Terror: Join Twitter Campaign
Don't let a proponent of violence against civilians get rewarded on the world stage as a model of human rights. Please send a polite message on Twitter to the jury members below asking them to cancel Mona Seif's nomination, and to condemn her support for terrorism.
Hans Thoolen, Chair of Martin Ennals Award Jury:@thoolen
Human Rights Watch:@kenroth @hrw
International Federation of Human Rights:@fidh_en
World Organisation Against Torture:@omctorg
International Commission of Jurists:@ICJ_org
Human Rights First:@humanrights1st
International Service for Human Rights:@ISHRglobal
Sample tweet to all:Jury, say NO to Seif #tweets4terror: @amnesty @hrw @fidh_en @omctorg @FrontLineHRD @ICJ_org @humanrights1st @ISHRglobal @diakonie @huridocs.