Father Stan Swamy, a Jesuit priest and tribal rights activist from Jharkhand, arrested in the Bhima Koregaon case and who died in July 2021, will receive a “special and posthumous tribute” on Thursday at the Martin Ennals Prize in Geneva. The prize is widely regarded as the Nobel Prize for human rights defenders. This year’s winners are Daouda Diallo from Burkina Faso, Pham Doan Trang from Vietnam and Abdul-Hadi Al-Khawaja from Bahrain.
“Father Stan was nominated for the prize in the spring of 2021, but sadly passed away before he could achieve it,” said prize jury president Hans Thoolen.
Before dying at the age of 84, Swamy had spent his life working with Adivasi communities on their lands, forests and labor rights. He had filed a PIL regarding the arrests of thousands of young adivasis whom investigative agencies had labeled “Naxals”. According to the NIA, which had arrested him along with other activists such as lawyer Sudha Bharadwaj under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) in 2020, Swamy was part of the banned CPI (Maoist). “The jury wished to highlight Father Stan’s many contributions to human rights, which cannot be overshadowed by his unjust incarceration by Indian authorities,” Thoolen said.