This year’s Anna Lindh Prize has been awarded to Pakistani Human Rights activist and lawyer Mary Gill. The prize is awarded annually to an individual, organization or project working internationally.
The memorial fund describes the goals of the prize as one that “aim to encourage primarily women and youth who, in Anna Lindh’s spirit, show the courage to work against indifference, prejudice, oppression, and injustice in order to stimulate a society where human rights are respected. The Prize is awarded as encouragement for ongoing projects.”
The prize was awarded to Gill for her campaign #SweepersAreSuperheroes. She is a former MPA and a member of Women in Law.
Very pleased to share that the 2020 Anna Lindh Prize goes to Pakistani human rights lawyer @maryjamesgill for her campaign #SweepersAreSuperheroes. Mary is a former MPA and member of #WomenInLaw. Please join us in congratulating her on this accolade. #AnnaLindhPrize2020 pic.twitter.com/uX1NVHOPKY
— Women In Law (@WomenInLawPk) August 24, 2020
Gill was nominated by WaterAid Sweden. Lena Hjelm-Wallen, the chairman of Anna Lindh’s Memorial Fund and former foreign minister in Sweden states:
“As a lawyer and activist, Mary James Gill connects human rights, health and working conditions not least thorough the Sweepers are Superheroes campaign. Mary’s insistent work for the most vulnerable groups, based on human tights is entirely in line with the values Anna Lindh stood for. Therefore, we are very proud to award Anna Lindh prize 2020 to Mary James Gill.”
Gill is the founder of the advocacy campaign Sweepers are Superheroes. This campaign has outlined the horrific attitudes and working conditions towards sanitization workers as well as garbage collectors.
Launched as #SewperHeroes in 2017, the campaign aims to protect the rights, dignity, and safety of sanitation workers. In 2019, research showed that threats of unemployment forced workers to endure horrific conditions and that often those coming from vulnerable backgrounds were forced into these occupations, which further marked them with a status of untouchability.