Nora Sveaass wins Norwegian Amnesty’s award for 2009

The Amnesty prize for 2009 goes to psychologist Nora Sveaas, right, for her strong engagement towards refugees’ and asylum seekers’ rights, and for her several years’ long work to secure adequate health care for people fleeing torture and mistreatment. Through her efforts, Sveaass has contributed to bringing a well-hidden problem into the public domain.

The Amnesty prize  is awarded every year to "a candidate who, thorugh his or her work, has contributed to enlighten or generate broad debate about human rights issues, or has achieved results in the form of better protection and improved rights for individuals or a group of people".

The selection committee, which has consisted of Marie Simonsen from the daily newspaper Dagbladet, Bjørn Engesland from the Norwegian helsinki Committee and Gustav Haver and Thorbjørn Knutsen from the board of Norwegian Amnesty, write in their nomination:

Nora Sveaass has made it a life commitment to defend the rights of refugees and asylum seekers in Norway. She has helped make clear that violations do not end in a court process, but that the physical and pschological after-effects will continue to affect survivors of torture, and their families, for the rest of their lives.

Through documenting the need for longterm treatment and other follow-up measures, Sveaass has contributed to the establishment of an adequate treatment scheme in Norway for survivors of torture and mistreatment. Sveaass has also brought her knowledge and experience into her important work as a member of the United Nations’ Committee Against Torture, where she was recently re-elected for another four-years’ term.

As a founding member and leading activist of the organisation Health and Human Rights Info, Sveaass is also a frequent visitor, close affiliate and longstanding friend of th Human Rights House in Oslo. The night before the announcement of the award, she gave the keynote address to the 20th anniversary reception at the House.

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