Nansen Refugee Award

Azizbek Ashurov from Kyrgyzstan wins UNHCR Nansen Refugee Award 2019

A lawyer, whose work has supported the efforts of the Kyrgyz Republic in becoming the first country in the world to end statelessness, has been selected as the 2019 winner of the UN Refugee Agency’s Nansen Refugee Award.

Azizbek Ashurov, through his organization Ferghana Valley Lawyers Without Borders (FVLWB), has helped well over 10,000 people to gain Kyrgyz nationality after they became stateless following the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Among them, some 2,000 children will now have the right to an education and a future with the freedom to travel, marry and work.

Statelessness affects millions of people worldwide, depriving them of legal rights or basic services and leaving them politically and economically marginalized, discriminated against and particularly vulnerable to exploitation and abuse. Learn more about statelessness in Central Asia

“Azizbek Ashurov’s story is one of great personal resolve and tenacity,” said Filippo Grandi, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

Press release: Kyrgyz Human Rights Lawyer Wins UNHCR Nansen Refugee Award 

Story : Intrepid lawyer achieves quest to eradicate statelessness in Kyrgyzstan

About Nansen Refugee Award

UNHCR’s Nansen Refugee Award honours extraordinary service to the forcibly displaced.

Established in 1954, the Award celebrates the legacy of Fridtjof Nansen, a Norwegian scientist, polar explorer, diplomat and first High Commissioner for Refugees for the League of Nations.

The first Nansen Refugee Award recipient was Eleanor Roosevelt, first Chair of the UN Human Rights Commission and First Lady of the United States alongside President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Over the years, more than 60 individuals, groups or organizations have received the award for their extraordinary service to refugees and outstanding work on behalf of the displaced.

The award includes a commemorative medal and a US$150,000 monetary prize generously donated by the governments of Switzerland and Norway. In close consultation with UNHCR, the laureate uses the monetary prize to fund a project that complements their existing work.

The Nansen Refugee Award program is funded in partnership with the Swiss Government, The Norwegian Government, the State Council of the Republic and Canton of Geneva, the Administrative Council of the City of Geneva and the IKEA Foundation.

Learn more about Nansen Refugee Award