Tetiana Pechonchyk receives grant in memory of Swedish human rights Anna Dahlbäck

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Head of Human Rights Centre ZMINA Tetiana Pechonchyk received the grant in memory of Anna Dahlbäck, a Swedish human rights activist who defended victims of war crimes and genocide until her premature demise 2015. To commemorate and continue her non-profit work within human rights, the Anna Dahlbäck Memorial Fund was established which annually awards a grant to a person devoted to human rights. 

The award ceremony took place in Stockholm. 

Tetiana Pechonchyk founded Human Rights Centre ZMINA in 2012. Since Russia invaded Crimea in 2014, ZMINA has been documenting abuses and acts of brutality committed by the Russian invaders, along with the devastation caused by full-scale war, including torture, enforced disappearances and deportations. 

Her early understanding of the importance of documenting the crimes against men and mankind that Russia has committed and commits in Ukraine will be of great help for the International Criminal Court which as soon as possible ought to be established to take legal proceedings against those responsible. The task to verify the crimes requires many individual efforts, which are physically and mentally trying. We include all these efforts in the choice of Tetiana Pechonchyk as the receiver of the grant of 2023,” reads the statement by Anna Dahlbäck’s Memorial Fund. 

This award is a recognition not only of my work but also of the efforts of many human rights defenders in Ukraine who document war crimes during the Russian aggression, conduct investigations and protect the victims,” Tetiana Pechonchyk said at the award ceremony, “The impunity of Russia and its leadership is the main reason why a full-scale war started in Ukraine. We will do everything possible and impossible to punish war criminals so that the war does not repeat itself and Russian troops do not invade the homes of other families on the European continent.” 

In previous years, the Foundation of Anna Dahlbäck’s Memorial Fund awarded grants to Swedish diplomat and former UN employee Anders Kompass (2016), Turkish lawyer Eren Keskin (2017), Nicaraguan human rights activist Lottie Cunningham Wren (2018), Israeli lawyer Gaby Lasky (2019), Russian scientist and historian Yury Dmitriev (2020), Egyptian human rights activist Azza Soliman (2021) and Chinese human rights activist Yu Wensheng (2022). 

Anna Dahlbäck worked as a lawyer in Stockholm, was a member of the Swedish Bar Association and held several posts in Amnesty International Sweden. She was a representative for the International Working Group for the International Criminal Court (ICC) and travelled to Thailand and the Philippines to persuade these countries to sign the Rome Statute (and the latter country later did). Dahlbäck also worked in Paraguay as part of the International Commission of Jurists. In Sweden, she worked to prosecute war criminals, introduce a new law regarding criminal liability for crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes and legislation against torture. Anna Dahlbäck was a role model for many, on account of her altruistic and competent dedication to the struggle for human rights.