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Pakistani digital rights activist clinches Dutch Human Rights award

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Founder of Pakistan’s Digital Rights Foundation Nighat Dad has been awarded the Government of Netherlands’ Human Rights Tulip award 2016.

Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders will present her with the prize on 10th December, Human Rights Day, in The Hague, said a statement released by the government.

“Human rights defenders are modern-day heroes,” said the minister. “Despite the many threats she has received, Nighat Dad continues to fight to improve adherence to human rights in Pakistan in a unique and innovative way. Ms Dad is a pioneer who is working to remove everyday obstacles to internet access, especially those that affect women.”


Read More: Pakistani digital rights activist nominated for Dutch human rights award


The Human Rights Tulip is an annual prize awarded by the Minister of Foreign Affairs to human rights defenders who take an innovative approach to promoting human rights. The prize consists of a bronze sculpture and €100,000, which is intended to enable recipients to further develop their work.

“Ms Dad is a staunch defender of digital rights and the importance of protecting women and girls and marginalised groups on social media,” the Dutch minister said.

Koenders hopes that this prize will serve as a gesture of support for the freedom of internet users, especially women.

In 2012 Ms Dad founded the Digital Rights Foundation, which supports female internet users in the form of digital security training courses, public awareness campaigns and the newly created Cyber Harassment Helpline.

Dad’s approach enables her to reach women throughout Pakistan, including those in more remote areas of the country. Human rights are the cornerstone of the Netherlands’ foreign policy. Ms Dad’s work is in keeping with the two priorities of that policy: freedom of expression, including internet expression, and promoting equal rights for women.

Dad was first shortlisted among 10 nominees then last month she was shortlisted among final three candidates along Nguyen Quang A from Vietnam and El Nadim Centre from Egypt.

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