2011 Gruber Justice Prize

In the face of formidable political, cultural and historical forces aligned against democratic values, Barbara Arnwine, Morris Dees, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, the Center for Legal and Social Studies, and the Kurdish Human Rights Project have courageously provided access to legal justice to victims of discrimination and oppression.

An independent, non-partisan organization, ACRI has raised public awareness and helped set important precedents with cases it has brought before the Israeli Supreme Court to defend human rights in Israel and the occupied territories, including the rights of Arab and gay and lesbian citizens.

Founded in 1979 during Argentina’s “Dirty War,” CELS has succeeded in bringing to trial government officials who committed human rights violations during that country’s military dictatorship, and to reopen previously closed cases by having laws holding officials immune from prosecution declared unconstitutional.

Through its fact-finding missions, publications and legal advocacy, KHRP has been able to collect and disseminate, to the public and in court, evidence of human rights violations committed in the Kurdish regions, and to succeed in compelling government compliance with international human rights standards.

As attorney and executive director of the National Lawyers’ Committee, Barbara Arnwine has been a leading advocate for the rights of racial minorities, women and societally disadvantaged persons, playing a critical role in securing passage of the 1991 Civil Rights Act. Among many civil rights matters, she has also worked to address housing discrimination, equal access to quality education and expanding coverage of the Hate Crimes Act on the basis of sexual orientation.

Cofounder of the Southern Poverty Law Center and a leading civil rights attorney for four decades, Morris Dees has used the courts to achieve major civil rights reform, including the redistricting of the Alabama legislature, and to put major hate groups out of business.