The 9th Bruno Kreisky Prizes for Human Rights were awarded at the Bruno Kreisky Forum for International Dialogue on January 22nd 1997. Four international winners, the Iranian opposition politician Abbas Amir Entezam, the civil rights activist Emily Lau from Hongkong, the Israeli peace and civil rights activist Uri Avnery and the Croatian journalist and civil rights advocate Ivan Zvonimir Cicak, were awarded.
Abbas Amir Entezam was unable to take part in the award ceremony because of his imprisonment by the regime in Iran. Entezam was arrested in 1979 and remained imprisoned until 2005 with only one short interruption.
Uri Avnery was honoured as one of the most consistent advocates of peace and a just settlement with the Palestinians in Israel. Uri Avnery is the founder of the Gush Shalom movement. He is a journalist and long-serving member of the Knesset. Since 1948, he has supported the idea of Israeli-Palestinian peace and the co-existence of two states: the state of Israel and the state of Palestine with Jerusalem as a common capital. Uri Avnery created a world sensation when, during the 1982 war in Lebanon, he crossed the front lines and became the first Israeli to meet Yasser Arafat. As early as 1974 he made his first secret contacts with the Palestinian leadership.
The Austrian actor and humanist Otto Tausig was awarded for his humanitarian child-aid projects in the Third World. Willi Resetarits, an Austrian artist, was honoured for his fight against xenophobia. Another prize winner was the Austrian Network Against Poverty. Austrian Chancellor Franz Vranitzky gave the laudatory address for the prize winners.