Peter Tatchell received the Gandhi Foundation International Peace Award 2016 at a ceremony in the Houses of Parliament in London on 31 October 2016.

It honours his 50 years of human rights advocacy and activism. He dedicated his acceptance to the West Papuan freedom struggle.

The award was presented by the acclaimed human rights lawyer, Helena Kennedy QC, a member of the House of Lords.

In choosing Tatchell to receive the honour, the selection committee praised Tatchell  for his consistent dedication over many decades, and single-minded pursuit in promoting human rights, and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights in particular.

The citation continued: “He has consistently been at the forefront of progressive movements, from anti-apartheid to Palestinian rights, nuclear disarmament, democratic reforms in the Middle East and campaigns against draconian anti-terror laws in the UK.

“He has achieved this through his conviction and non-violent protest, which are the hall-marks of the guiding principles espoused by Mahatma Gandhi.

“The Trustees also took into account his personal bravery in confronting prejudice and putting himself sometimes in the way of violent attack but never retaliating violently. He has repeatedly risked arrest and imprisonment for exposing injustice and has been looked upon as a role model by many campaigners for human rights.

“The work the Peter Tatchell Foundation is doing has helped highlight human rights abuses in the Commonwealth, create dialogue between the LGBT and Muslim communities and speak out against war crimes in Syria, Balochistan and West Papua.”

The Australian born activist described receiving the award as a massive honour.

Tatchell said: “This award is in recognition of my half a century of human rights work, which began in 1967, when I was aged 15. But, of course, whatever changes I have helped bring about, they were never achieved by me alone.

“The advances in LGBT and other human rights have always been a collaborative effort. I could not have helped secure any social change without the support of many others.

“My heartfelt thanks to all those people for their kindness, generosity and support over the decades. It is much valued – and treasured.”

 

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