The Austrian League for Human Rights attributes the Human Rights Award 2017 to the Turkish human rights and trade union activist Osman İşçi. The league’s report 2017 on human rights situation includes a chapter on Turkey.
 The official ceremony took place on 9 December 2017 in co-operation with the Human Rights Film Festival in Vienna.
 Osman İşçi has been a member of the Turkish Human Rights Association since 2006 (İnsan Hakları Derneği – İHD). He was a member of the organization’s board from the beginning and was responsible for International Relations. Since July 2017 he is Secretary General. But he is also an academic colleague, and he has published on this blog.
 I have known Osman since 2014: I invited him to a meeting on the history and activities of human rights leagues, covering the Turkish Human Rights Association, which is affiliated with Fédération Internationale des Droits de l’Homme, and other associations, as well as the human rights situation in Turkey. He wrote the Turkey chapter in our book on the history of human rights leagues.
 Professionally Osman writes a dissertation in English Literature on the conflict in Northern Ireland and how its violence is treated with in poetry. On Twitter he sends out short poems, also from Turkish pen. They are poems full of humanism. Osman is a humanist. And yet he was dismissed from Hacettepe University in April 2017 by emergency decree, and was also inhibited to travel and leave the country.
 Therefore, he could not personally accept the award in Vienna.
 Already in 2014 he impressed me when he came to Vienna in May to talk about his life as a human rights activist and trade unionist in Turkey. Several times already he was detained and interrogated by the authorities because of his activities.
 The worsening of his personal situation in 2017 is not only due to his day-to-day commitment to basic human rights and correct reporting on illegal or unlawful practices, but primarily to his signature under the Peace Petition of 11 January 2016, in which The group „Academics for Peace“ called for peace between the Turkish state and especially the Kurdish minority. Many of the undersigned suffer the same fate as Osman.
 Osman has served on the Board of EuroMed Rights since 2006, notably in the Working Group on Freedom of Association in Turkey and the Mediterranean countries. It is about producing reliable reports, supporting other human rights activists and organizing legal assistance. Several organizations, including FIDH, work with Osman and value his well-founded reports.
 Osman has sent a letter for the award ceremnoy. In it he tells about his tasks and functions, and then writes, I quote: „I am an ordinary citizen and try to be a true human rights defender. I try to be a person who deserves all the solidarity shown to me and my colleagues. Being a human rights defender has a very fundamental quality: the fight for the protection and promotion of human rights. Wrestling for dignity for all. The fight for human rights is the voice of voiceless people. It requires solidarity! Therefore, for me, solidarity is the key element of the human rights struggle. For that reason, I feel very honoured and feel stronger with the award.“
 With the Human Rights Award, the Austrian League for Human Rights expresses its solidarity with Osman İşçi, the Human Rights Association and all those whose fundamental and human rights are being trampled on in Turkey.