AMAR won the prize for International Aid and Development at the 2014 national Charity Awards in London (June 12th 2014). We won the prestigious award for our unique work inside jails in Iraq, teaching prisoners, prison guards, and their families on the outside, about human rights and the rule of law. Baroness Nicholson said she was “absolutely thrilled” to have won the award.

“We have been working for many years very quietly, without publicity, to help millions of the worst off in the Middle East. To win this therefore means so much to me and to our wonderful staff, who often work in the most trying and testing circumstances,” Baroness Nicholson said. She added: “Now though, we must immediately turn our attention from this wonderful award to the worsening crisis in Iraq. AMAR is urgently appealing for funds to send our teams of medical experts to offer emergency assistance and support to those fleeing the violence.”

AMAR’s Regional Director, Dr Ali Muthanna, agreed. “Here in Iraq, my team are absolutely thrilled to win this award. It is a vindication of all their hard work over the years. Now though, we have yet another terrible crisis to deal with, and we don’t really have time for celebration.

“Hundreds of thousands of our fellow countrymen and women need our help. As usual AMAR will be with them all the way,” he said.

The award-winning project was about awareness of human rights and the rule of law in Iraq within the prison system. It ran for three years, from September 2010 to November 2013. It delivered 32,468 training sessions, teaching 1,882 prisoners and 711 guards human rights as well as literacy and numeracy. The work AMAR established in prisons in Iraq has been adopted by institutions across the country, and is not a part of daily life for many prisoners. Alys Brown, who worked on the project, said: “I’m very proud of everything we’ve achieved. We’re thrilled that our team’s hard work is receiving this recognition. We hope this award will help us to expand our work, and continue to help those who need it most.”

The project was funded by the US Department of State, and reflects the great partnership we have with other institutional partners and indeed corporate partners. AMAR has been helping and improving the lives of millions of people in Iraq and Lebanon for more than 23 years. Much of our work is for medical and educational need, but we also teach human rights and the rule of law. Uniquely for the region, AMAR also helps women to fight gender-based violence and teaches empowerment and skills through vocational training and initiatives. Our funding model means that just 12 people are employed in London to help manage the operation in the Middle East, where 2000 locally-born staff and volunteers run the projects.

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