With sincere regrets, the Executive Board of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) announces that the presentation of the Human Rights Award scheduled for November 12, 2018, will be suspended.
Since 1994, the FES has presented its Human Rights Award to individuals and organizations in different parts of the world that have made outstanding contributions in the field of human rights.
The jury decided to present this year’s award to Women’s March USA, basing its decision particularly on the organization’s outstanding commitment to social justice, democracy, and gender equality, as well as its ability to mobilize people around the world.
Members of the Working Group of Scholarship Holders of the FES “Critique of Antisemitism / Jewish Studies” have criticized the presentation of the award to Women’s March, referring to an insufficient understanding of antisemitism on the part of the organization. According to the critics, the movement excludes zionists, and members of the board have repeatedly been involved in antisemitic incidents.
In a press statement, Women’s March has explicitly distanced itself from antisemitism and racism.
The Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung is working to combat antisemitism around the world and cooperates closely with Jewish organizations. On the basis of the evidence submitted, the FES is unable to assess with certainty the validity of the charges against individual members of the organization’s leadership.
The Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung considers it important to give the laureates a fair chance to be heard on these charges in an adequate setting.
Upon careful consideration, the Executive Board of the FES has therefore decided, as a first step, to suspend the presentation of the award and allow an independent body to investigate the matter.
For this reason, the award ceremony scheduled for November 12, 2018, is canceled.
Former Federal State Prime Minister
President of the Friedrich-Ebert- Stiftung
Dr. Roland Schmidt
Secretary General of the Friedrich-Ebert- Stiftung
Press Office Berlin