Lawyer Helped Victims of Chad Dictator in Long Fight for Justice
(Geneva, November 4, 2013) – A lawyer who has long fought for human rights and justice in Chad will be honored at the Human Rights Watch Voices for Justice Annual Dinner in Geneva on November 21, 2013.
Jacqueline Moudeïna, a Chadian lawyer and human rights activist, has been a leader of the effort to bring the former Chadian dictator Hissène Habré to trial and to achieve justice for his victims. She is one of six human rights defenders from around the world being honored at the Human Rights Watch Annual Dinners for their work to protect the rights and dignity of others. There will be 12 dinners in November and another nine in March/April 2014 in cities around the world.
“Jacqueline Moudeïna has worked tirelessly and at great personal risk for years to defend human rights for the people of Chad,” said Armelle Armstrong, Geneva development director at Human Rights Watch. “We honor her for her commitment to bringing justice to the victims of Hissène Habré and protecting human rights in Chad.”
Since 2000, Moudeïna has represented Habré’s victims during his dictatorship from 1982 to 1990 in Senegal, Belgium, and Chad. She put herself at risk by pursuing charges against Habré’s accomplices, many of whom are now senior government officials. In 2001, Moudeïna was severely injured in an assassination attempt ordered by a police commissioner she had charged with torture under Habré. Moudeïna was not deterred. Earlier in 2013 she won an important victory when a special court in Senegal was inaugurated to try the former dictator.
Moudeïna's work extends far beyond the Habré case. As president of the Chadian Association for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights, the leading human rights nongovernmental organization in Chad, she has assumed a prominent role on such issues as prisoners’ rights, conditions for children who work as herders, women’s rights, and corruption.
She is a recipient of the Human Rights Watch Alison Des Forges Award for Extraordinary Activism. The award is named for Dr. Alison Des Forges, senior adviser to the Human Rights Watch Africa division for almost two decades, who died in a plane crash in New York on February 12, 2009. Des Forges was the world’s leading expert on Rwanda, the 1994 genocide, and its aftermath. The Human Rights Watch annual award celebrates the valor of people who put their lives on the line to create a world free from abuse, discrimination, and oppression.
The Geneva dinner will be held on November 21 at Bâtiment des Forces Motrices.
Human Rights Watch staff members work closely with the human rights defenders as part of the organization’s research into some 90 countries around the world. The defenders will be honored at the fall 2013 Voices for Justice Human Rights Watch Annual Dinners in Amsterdam, Chicago, Geneva, London, Los Angeles, Munich, New York, Paris, San Francisco, Santa Barbara, Silicon Valley, and Toronto.