Founder and Director of the Digital Rights Foundation Nighat Dad has been awarded the Dutch government's Human Rights Tulip award 2016, a statement released by the Government of Netherlands said on Sunday.

"Despite the many threats she has received, Nighat Dad continues to fight to improve adherence to human rights in Pakistan in a unique and innovative way. Ms Dad is a pioneer who is working to remove everyday obstacles to internet access, especially those that affect women," the statement quoted Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders saying.

The statement terms Dad "a staunch defender of digital rights and the importance of protecting women and girls and marginalised groups on social media."

The annual Human Rights Tulip award is presented by the Dutch minister of foreign affairs to human rights defenders who take an innovative approach to promoting human rights. It consists of a bronze sculpture and 100,000 euros which is intended to enable recipients to expand further on their efforts.

Koenders will present Dad with the prize on Human Rights Day on Dec 10 in The Hague.

"Mr Koenders hopes that this prize will serve as a gesture of support for the freedom of internet users, especially women."

"Human rights are the cornerstone of the Netherlands’ foreign policy. Ms Dad’s work is in keeping with the two priorities of that policy: freedom of expression, including internet expression, and promoting equal rights for women," the statement said.

A lawyer and human rights activist, Dad is known for championing online safety and access to the internet in Pakistan and across the world. The Digital Rights Foundation, which was founded in 2012, educates citizens, particularly young women, on how to protect themselves from and respond to online harassment.

Dad has campaigned against legislation in favour of internet surveillance. Her foundation has also opposed the dissemination of internet user information to foreign and domestic state agencies and businesses.

She was awarded the Atlantic Council Digital Freedom Award 2016 and was among six 'next generation leaders' named by TIME Magazine last year.



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