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(New York) –  The photojournalist Stephen Ferry has been awarded the first Tim Hetherington Grant, an annual visual journalism award focusing on human rights.

Human Rights Watch and World Press Photo established the grant to honor the legacy of Hetherington, a photojournalist and filmmaker, who was killed in Libya in April 2011. The grant of €20,000 was given to Ferry for his project “Violentology: A Manual of the Colombian Conflict.”

“As Tim Hetherington immersed himself in West Africa, spending many years working and living in Liberia, so Stephen Ferry has dedicated himself to covering conflict in Colombia,” the judges said in awarding the grant. “Ferry is not only committed to creating an important historical record, he is also generating innovative approaches for disseminating that record within the community he documents, as well as to a worldwide audience.”

Ferry’s project was chosen by a jury from among 222 applications by photographers from 56 countries.

“Violentology: A Manual of the Colombian Conflict” focuses on the history and current dynamics of the conflict in Colombia, exposing the roles of all parties involved and the impact of the violence on civilians. Human rights abuses are widespread. Over the past two decades, paramilitaries, guerrillas, and government forces have forcibly displaced more than 3.5 million Colombians, and many thousands have died in the fighting.

Ferry, an American who has made his career documenting human rights stories, moved to Colombia and has spent more than a decade documenting abuses there. His “Violentology” project will be distributed across three platforms: an exhibition; a book; and selected excerpts in the form of booklets published free of charge in Colombian newspapers.

The jury members were: Christopher Anderson, Magnum photographer; James Brabazon, journalist and documentary filmmaker; Veronica Matushaj, Human Rights Watch’s director of photography; Michiel Munneke, managing director at World Press Photo; and Jamie Wellford, senior photo editor for Newsweek. Adriaan Monshouwer, founder of Picture Inside, served as secretary during the selection process.

The selection committee was looking for qualities that defined Hetherington’s career: work that operates on multiple platforms and in a variety of formats; that crosses boundaries between breaking news and long-term investigation; and that demonstrates a consistent moral commitment to the lives and stories of the photographic subjects.

The Tim Hetherington Grant is a joint initiative of World Press Photo and Human Rights Watch, and is supported by Hetherington’s parents. The grant is intended to support a photographer in completing an existing project on a human rights theme. The application process was open to all professional photographers who have participated in a World Press Photo competition between 2008 and 2011.

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