33
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ACTIVIST NEVA TÖLLE WINS RAOUL WALLENBERG AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTION TO WOMEN’S PROTECTION FROM VIOLENCE AND ADVOCACY FOR WOMEN’S RIGHTS

Autonomous Women’s House Zagreb – Women Against Violence Against Women proudly announces that yesterday, on January 17, 2024, in Strasbourg, co-founder of AWHZ and tireless activist Neva Tölle was awarded the Raoul Wallenberg Prize for 2024 by the Council of Europe. This recognition acknowledges her pioneering role, courage, and determination in providing assistance to women survivors of violence, as well as promoting changes in public perception, legislation, and policies to prevent and combat violence against women.

At the award ceremony, the Secretary-General of the Council of Europe, Marija Pejčinović Burić, stated, “This action and dedication do not come without a cost. Over the years, I know you have faced various threats, intimidation, and obstacles. But you persevered. Your courage and determination have helped those in greatest need…”

It is worth noting that in 2020, the European Court of Human Rights recognized the courage and importance of Neva Tölle’s work in combating violence against women in the case of Tölle v. Croatia. Additionally, in 2022, the City of Zagreb awarded Neva Tölle the City of Zagreb Award. The jury emphasized that Tölle’s courage and determination, as well as her innovations and creativity, had a real and lasting impact. In addition to providing direct support to women who have survived violence, she has tirelessly and successfully worked to promote legislative changes, such as recognizing femicide as a crime, implementing stricter penal policies, and amending the Social Welfare Act.

Recipient of the Raoul Wallenberg Prize, Neva Tölle, stated, “This award is not just for me but is also a recognition of women who have survived violence. They are my heroes and the inspiration that gives me strength every day. I consider myself privileged to have had the opportunity to be with them, listen to their stories, and witness their incredible courage. This is not just a recognition of past efforts but a commitment to the future. I will continue to fight for women’s human rights, promote justice and security, and together with you, build a society where violence against women has no place.”

Speakers at the award ceremony included Secretary-General Roderick Liddell, President of the Evaluation Board, laureate Ambassador Robert Rydberg, Chargé d’Affaires A.I., Permanent Representation of Sweden, and Ambassador Harry Rusz, Permanent Representative of Hungary to the Council of Europe.

January 17 marks the anniversary of Raoul Wallenberg’s arrest in Budapest in 1945. The Swedish diplomat used his status to save tens of thousands of Jews from the Holocaust. His actions demonstrate that the courage and ability of one person can truly bring about change, inspiring all of us to speak out and take real action against persecution and xenophobia. His fate has remained an intriguing mystery for years.

The Evaluation Board consists of six independent individuals with recognized moral roles in the field of human rights and humanitarian assistance, appointed by the Secretary-General of the Council of Europe, the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the city of Budapest, the Raoul Wallenberg Institute in Lund, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and the Wallenberg family.

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