Joel Pett, President of the Board of Directors of Cartoonists Rights Network International, announces the recipient of the Award for Courage in Editorial Cartooning for 2016
Every year, CRNI searches the world of political cartooning for those who have demonstrated exceptional courage and resilience in the face of life-threatening risk and danger. Political cartoonists are often the first journalists to be attacked for their irreverent and satirical commentary against tyrants and terrorists alike. Because their cartoons are so immediately recognizable, they often have more power and influence over public opinion than other media.
This year’s recipient, whose pen name is Eaten Fish, is an Iranian national, currently interned in the Manus Island detention camp in Papua New Guinea. This notorious detention center is funded and overseen by the government of Australia.
Various human rights groups have spoken out against the Manus Island camp, with the UN recognizing that indefinite detention and the practices employed in the camp constitute ‘cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment’ and break the UN Convention Against Torture to which Australia is a signatory.
Eaten Fish has been able to keep up a stream of cartoons documenting the unspeakable abuses and excesses of the guards and administrators of the camp. For this he has been the subject of beatings, deprivation of food, and even worse degrading treatment by the guards. Australia has made publication of negative information about the camp punishable by two years in prison.
The importance of the work of human rights defenders, artists, cartoonists and writers, such as Eaten Fish, within the prison camp cannot be overstated. Nor can the fact that they are at further risk of violence each time they create, speak, draw or write. Eaten Fish is one of those who’s work as a cartoonist brings to light the horrors that are happening around him. CRNI believes that his body of work will be recognized as some of the most important in documenting and communicating the human rights abuses and excruciating agony of daily life in this notorious and illegal prison camp. His work pushes through the veil of secrecy and silence and layers of fences in a way that only a talented artist speaking from the inside can.
We hope that this award will help shine a brighter light on the excesses of this camp. His work is addressed to the critical eyes of the world while exposing the xenophobic and racist policies of the Australian government in their dealings with immigrant refugees.
The award will be presented in absentia and accepted by Ms. Janet Galbriath, an Australian poet and human rights worker, and founder of Writing Through Fences.
Ms. Galbraith has made it her business to uncover the excesses of the Australian government’s policies in the Manus Island camp,
The award will be presented at the final dinner of the annual convention of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists in Durham, North Carolina on September 24, 2016.
For more information please contact CRNI’s Executive Director, Dr .Robert Russell, at firstname.lastname@example.org.