Bruno Kreisky Foundation

for Human Rights

2022 | 19th award

Bruno Kreisky Forum for international dialogue

On June 23, 2022, the Bruno Kreisky Foundation for Services to Human Rights awarded the oldest and most renowned human rights prize in Austria, named after former Federal Chancellor Bruno Kreisky, for the 19th time at the Bruno Kreisky Forum for International Dialogue.

The jury of the Bruno Kreisky Prize for services to human rights, composed of independent experts, awarded the international Bruno Kreisky Human Rights Prize 2022 to the Belarusian opposition politician and activist Maria Kalesnikawa for her commitment to democracy and safeguarding human rights in Belarus .

In addition to Maria Kalesnikawa, the Palestinian human rights organization Al-Haq, the asylum coordination Austria and Martin Hochegger, especially for his work in Tanzania, were also honored. Former Austrian Foreign Minister and Ambassador Dr. In his laudatory speech, Peter Jankowitsch recognized Maria Kalesnikawa's commitment to democracy in Belarus. The Lebanese writer and journalist Elias Khoury gave the eulogy for Al-Haq, Father Wili Maningi, pastor in Moshi (Tanzania) and project partner of Martin Hochegger, emphasized Martin Hochegger's work, and Ms. Mag.a Nina Horaczek, political scientist and chief reporter of the weekly newspaper FALTER pointed out the important work done by the Austrian Asylum Coordinator on all aspects of asylum and flight.

Maria Kalesnikava

Maria Kalesnikava is a Belarusian political activist, opposition politician, musician and music teacher. During the disputed presidential elections in Belarus in 2020, she was initially part of the presidential campaign around Wiktar Barbaryka (Viktor Babariko). After Vitkar Barbaryka was arrested, Maria Kalesnikawa acted as his representative. She called on the Belarusian people to actively participate in the elections and take responsibility for the country's future instead of boycotting the elections. After numerous candidates were excluded from the elections, Maria Kalesnikava and Veranika Tsepkala supported Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya's presidential candidacy. Maria Kalesnikava is also part of the Presidium of the Coordinating Council in Belarus, which works to organize a peaceful transition and overcome the political crisis in Belarus. She founded the party "Rasam" (also "Wmestje", in German: "Together"). While Veranika Tsepkala and Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya had to flee, Maria Kalesnikava refused to leave Belarus. An attempt to deport her to Ukraine failed. In September 2020, Maria Kalesnikawa was arrested. In September 2021 she was sentenced to 11 years in prison. The trial of Maria Kalesnikawa drew international criticism, alleging that she was founding and leading an extremist group, inciting threats to national security and allegedly conspiring to illegally seize power. In January 2022, Maria Kalesnikava was transferred to Penal Colony No. 4 in Gomel. Amnesty International classifies them as political prisoners and calls for their immediate release. Despite her arrest, Maria Kalesnikawa continues to support and inspire people fighting for human rights and freedom. Since Maria Kalesnikawa is still in detention, she could not receive the award in person, so her sister, Tatsiana Khomich, accepted the award for Maria Kalesnikawa instead.

Al Haq

Al-Haq is an independent Palestinian human rights organization based in Ramallah (West Bank). The non-governmental organization was founded in 1979 to protect and promote human rights and the rule of law in the Palestinian territories. Al-Haq has consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council. Al-Haq has set itself the task of documenting individual and collective human rights violations committed against Palestinians in the Palestinian Autonomous Territories, regardless of the origin of the perpetrators, and to work towards an end to these human rights violations through networking at national and international level to hold the perpetrators accountable. Al-Haq has already received awards such as the Fayez A. Sayegh Memorial Award, the Rothko Chapel Award for Commitment to Truth and Freedom, the Carter-Menil Human Rights Foundation award and the Human Rights Award of the French Republic. The Al-Haq organization sees the Bruno Kreisky Human Rights Award as a tribute to their work and as a sign of solidarity, particularly in light of the recent attacks on Palestinian civil society and human rights organizations. Al-Haq uses the award as an opportunity to continue to campaign for the rights of Palestinians and to document human rights violations.

Martin Hochegger

Martin Hochegger was primarily influenced by the "liberation theology" developed in Latin America and its concept of partisan solidarity with marginalized and oppressed population groups. This should include Martin Hochegger's work as a religious education teacher, as a committed "Brigadista" in Nicaragua, as well as a founding member of the "Graz Office for Peace and Development", long-standing chairman of the ZEBRA association, but also his commitment to setting up an escort program for traumatized war refugees, as an uncoverer of the mistreatment of children with disabilities in the Styrian psychiatric ward, as a reformer in a management position in a facility for children with disabilities after profound traumatization through excessive experiences of violence and sexual abuse. Martin Hochegger was also active as a voluntary supporter in the development of inclusive educational structures in the national and international environment. Martin Hochegger is currently focusing on the accommodation, education and care of children with albinism in inclusive schools in Tanzania. Killings or grisly injuries continue to occur in some regions of Tanzania, as eating parts of these children's bodies is believed to bring good luck when searching for gold and rare earths.

asylum coordination austria

Since 1991, asylum coordination Austria has been linking NGOs and initiatives that support, advise and look after those seeking protection in Austria. Strategies are developed together with partner organizations and networked action is made possible. Asylum Coordination Austria organizes networks of legal advisors, psychotherapists and care centers for refugee orphans. Asylkoordination Österreich is also well networked at European level and regularly participates in international projects. As part of its sponsorship project connecting people, asylum coordination austria has contributed more than 800 times to refugee orphans being able to gain a foothold with the help of people living in Austria. Asylkoordination Österreich points out abuses in Austrian asylum practice and draws the public's attention to them. This is done, for example, by organizing press conferences. In addition, the asylum coordination Austria is available to journalists with its extensive knowledge and coordinates dozens of organizations in campaigns such as KIND ist KIND or #fair Lassen.
Up to 40 further training events are offered every year for colleagues from the asylum sector, and school workshops on the topics of flight, asylum and racism are held for schoolchildren of all ages.

Presentation of the Bruno Kreisky Prize for services to human rights 2022 ©Thomas Peschat-