UN Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights Kate Gilmore presented Baysal with the Award during a ceremony at Dublin’s City Hall.
In her speech Baysal said:
“We as Turks and Kurds have been going through very dark days. Despite this darkness, there are still people who struggle for human rights, peace and democracy. In Şirnak, Istanbul, Diyarbakir, Izmir, Cizre…There are anonymous heroes. Some of these people record human rights violations, some try to stop torture, some provide legal support to those who are subjected to violence and some pick up dead bodies.
“I accept this award in the name of these anonymous heroes and all human rights defenders in Turkey and especially Kurdistan. I accept this award in the name of people who continue to struggle to illuminate the darkness in Turkey. I want to believe that ‘not ever again’ is possible. Let’s stop giving power to these tyrant governments. Let’s put an end to turning a blind eye to these crimes committed against humanity. Let’s make ‘not ever again’ not ever again! Azadî nezi ke!”.
About Nurcan Baysal
Born in 1975, Baysal is a Kurdish journalist and human rights defender based in Diyarbakir. When the government launched a military offensive in the south-east in 2016, Baysal spent months visiting Kurdish villages under bombardment, documenting human rights violations, and stopping to help families.
Her writings are known for their critical focus on voice women living under the bombardment. When the authorities launched a military operation in Afrin, Baysal took to social media to demand peace and condemn the violent assault.
She was detained due to her social media posts about Afrin operation, and although later released she now faces up to 3 years in jail in a separate case related to her writing. Baysal, according to authorities’ claims, had “spread propaganda for armed terrorist organizations … and a call for provocative actions.”
In addition to her reporting, Nurcan has also co-founded several NGOs, set up a camp to help Yazidi women fleeing the Islamic State, and been a key voice in countless reconciliation programs in the region.