On the occasion of International Human Rights Day, the Belgian League of Human Rights (LDH) organized the 10th edition of the Régine Orfinger-Karlin Award.
Every other year since 1996, this prize has been rewarding an individual or organization working on the protection and support of vulnerable groups, who performed outstanding work by highlighting the need to combat human rights violations.
The LDH commits itself to providing the winner with a significant amount of money to fund an existing initiative or project that started during the two years preceding the award ceremony.
The LDH selected four candidates out of the 20 who were initially chosen. Among the four finalists were the Brussels Boxing Academy, the association Genres Pluriel (Plural Gender), the Plateforme Citoyenne de Soutien aux Réfugiés (Civic Platform for Refugee Support) and the Union des progressistes Juifs de Belgique (Union of Jewish Progressives of Belgium).
An antidote against radicalism
The LDH awarded the 2016 award to the Brussels Boxing Academy (BBA), a boxing club that aims to support young people from poor neighborhoods and enable them to gain confidence and independence. By doing so, the boxing club acts as an antidote against radicalism and allows young people to participate collectively in a sport activity that foster social ties and self-esteem.
At a time when government measures to combat radicalism and terrorism focus essentially, if not exclusively, on security issues, BBA focuses more on young people's issues and "invest" in youth in order to increase, through sport, their "capital of self-confidence" and emancipation.
The BBA’s social approach participates modestly, but in a highly symbolic way, to the preventive work that was abandoned by the government in its fight against radicalism.
More information about the nominees is available in the presentation report.
About Régine Orfinger-Karlin
Régine Orfinger-Karlin was born during the 1910. She was the second woman in history to be called to the bar of the city of Anvers, in Belgium. Because she was a Jew, she was expelled from the bar before World War II. After her husband was denounced and executed she joined the resistance. In the aftermath of the war, she contributed to the reestablishment of the Belgium League of Human Rights.
The LDH chose to pay tribute to this emblematic figure of the resistance, who also was a feminist and anti-racism activist, by giving her name to an award that rewards an individual (or an organization) who distinguished himself or herself by advocating human rights.