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12 Aug 2015

Malaysian, Nisha Ayub, amongst LGBT activists recognised by Human Rights Watch award

Nisha Ayub, who has championed the rights of transgender people in Malaysia for over a decade has received the Alison Des Forges Award for Extraordinary Activism.

Ayub is among the four recipients named for the prestigious Alison Des Forges Award for Extraordinary Activism by watchdog Human Rights Watch (HRW), the global rights watchdog announced today.

Ayub is part of the group Justice for Sisters which  challenges the discriminatory laws that prevent transgender people in Malaysia from living free of violence, fear, and oppression.

Other winners include: Yara Bader, a journalist and human rights activist who works to expose the detention and torture of journalists in war-torn Syria; Khadija Ismayilova, a prominent investigative journalist who has dedicated her life to fighting for human rights in the former Soviet republic of Azerbaijan; and Nicholas Opiyo, a leading human rights lawyer and founder of the human rights organization Chapter Four Uganda, who has worked tirelessly to defend civil liberties in Uganda.

“The Alison Des Forges Award honors people who work courageously and selflessly to defend human rights, often in dangerous situations and at great personal sacrifice,” said Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch. “The honorees have dedicated their lives to defending the world’s most oppressed and vulnerable people.”

The awards will be presented at the Human Rights Watch Annual Dinner in Amsterdam on November 5.

Aruba and Justice for Sisters gained notoriety for assisting three Muslim transgender women in their constitutional challenge of Shariah legislation in one area of Malaysia. The case is currently being heard in the Federal Court.

In April, Ayub was awarded ‘Hero of the Year’ at the Asia LGBT Milestone Awards (ALMAs) in Bangkok.

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