Freedom House has awarded its FREEDOM AWARD to ABDULHADI, MARYAM, AND ZAINAB AL-KHAWAJA. The award will be presented during the Freedom House Annual Awards Dinner which honors the courage and achievements of those who have dedicated themselves to human freedom. The Freedom Award is an acknowledgment begun by Freedom House in 1943 to extol recipients’ invaluable contribution to the cause of freedom and democracy. Prior Freedom Award honorees include Vaclav Havel, Winston Churchill, Edward R. Murrow, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, and last year’s recipient Aung San Suu Kyi.

Left: Maryam Al-Khawaja , Right: Zainab Al-Khawaja



Considered the father of the Bahrain human rights movement,Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja is the co-founder of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights. An activist for more than thirty years, Mr. Al-Khawaja has endured numerous physical assaults, arrests, arbitrary detentions, and unjust trials as a result of his work. He was arrested in 2011 following the pro-democracy uprisings, tried and convicted and sentenced to life in prison where he has been subjected to torture. Stating “freedom or death”, he began a hunger strike in February 2012 which lasted 110 days, ending only when he was force fed by authorities.

Maryam and Zainab have emulated their father by assuming his struggle for human rights and becoming influential activists in their own right. Targets of constant threats, harassments, and arrests themselves, they continue to boldly demand reform, condemn government oppression, and tirelessly advocate for their father and the countless others unjustly imprisoned and silenced in Bahrain.