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Kuwaiti national receives Franco-German Human Rights award
December 16, 2017, 1:53 pm

Abdullah Al Khonaini, a young Kuwaiti civil activist, was awarded this year’s Franco- German Prize for Human Rights and the Rule of Law by the French and German ambassadors to Kuwait, at a ceremony held on 10 December. Germany and France announced the launch of an annual international Franco-German prize for Human Rights and Rule of Law in April 2016 at the Franco-German Council of Ministers, with the first of these prizes awarded later in the year.

This year, the ceremony fell in line with the annual celebration of Human Rights Day on 10 December all over the world. Born in 1987, Abdullah Al Khonaini has been for the past nine years a part of ‘Sout Al Kuwait’ — a non-profit organization that aims to promote constitutional awareness in society through the media. A policy researcher for the think-tank ‘Rai Institute for Strategic Studies and Research’, his main focus is in the role of civil society and active citizenship in Kuwait.

The award recognizes his active role in civil society and his work with several nongovernmental organizations (NGO) in Kuwait. Along with his position as a trainer and facilitator of ‘n-mu youth’, which is an empowerment program that targets the youth to take an active interest in their society and community, Khonaini is the founder of ‘Meem3’— a social movement that lobbies for more relaxed censorship policies. He is also a co-founder of the online, non-profit website which allows for transparency of parliamentarians work and voting records, called ‘Raqib50’.

Abdullah Al Khonaini, who is the first individual from the Middle East to receive the award, expressed his elation at being presented with prize and dedicated the award to all Kuwaitis and human rights defenders and rule of law-loving people in the country. Giving credit for the award to the support of his NGO colleagues, he emphasized his continued commitment to promoting human rights and the rule of law and hoped he would inspire others along the way.

Speaking on the occasion, H.E. Karlfried Bergner, the German Ambassador to Kuwait, stated that Khonaini was awarded the prize for his embodiment as a defender of human rights and rule of law in Kuwait. For his part, the French Ambassador to Kuwait, H.E. Christian Nakhla, shared that it came as no surprise that a Kuwaiti was among the recipients of the award, given the country’s penchant for humanitarian endeavors.

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