Congratulations are due to Peter Tatchell who has won Campaigner of the Year at the fourth Observer Ethical Awards. He was presented with the award by actor Colin Firth. In his acceptance speech, he said:
During the 1980s and 1990s I was often demonised by the popular press, lambasted by the political establishment and targeted for violent attack by neo-Nazis. Undeterred, I carried on campaigning. After more than 40 years of activism for gay rights and for other human rights causes, it is immensely gratifying to receive this accolade. My transition from public enemy number one to campaign award winner has been extraordinary.
I want to thank everyone who supported me through the difficult, turbulent years when I was a minority voice and frequently reviled. Their kindness and solidarity is treasured. It gave me the strength to carry on the fight for justice and has helped bring me the recognition I have won today.
During the last year, my campaign schedule has included arrest at the recent Gay Pride parade in Moscow, support for persecuted ethnic minorities in Iran and Pakistan, publicising the murder of LGBT Iraqis by Islamist death squads, challenging homophobia in football, assisting asylum seekers fleeing persecution, lobbying against the ban on same-sex marriage and helping secure the acquittal of two Baluch human rights campaigners who were framed on terrorism charges in London.
I do my bit for human rights, as do many others. Together, we make the change.
Peter richly deserves this award. He is dedicated and tenacious. But that is not what I admire the most about him. Many people are dedicated and tenacious (some regrettably so). What makes Peter special is that he is sincere and absolutely without malice. To appreciate his work, it is not necessary to agree with him all of the time. I don’t. On occasion I even emphatically disagree with him. But because he is never driven by agendas, and never puts ideology ahead of people, it is obvious – even to many of his detractors – that he is motivated only by a sincere desire to make the world a better place for everybody.
There is nothing more one could ask of a Human Rights Campaigner.
Well done Peter!