Rabat - Aicha El Basri, former Moroccan spokesperson for the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID, will be awarded the Ridenhour Prize for Truth-Telling on April 29th in recognition for her testimony against the United Nations.
Rabat – Aicha El Basri, former Moroccan spokesperson for the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID, will be awarded the Ridenhour Prize for Truth-Telling on April 29th in recognition for her testimony against the United Nations.
Founded jointly by the Nation Institute and the Fertel Foundation, the Ridenhour Prize for Truth-Telling is presented to a citizen, corporate or government whistleblower, investigative journalist, or organization for bringing a specific issue on social importance to the public’s attention.
Among former recipients of the Ridenhour Prize Truth-Telling is former intelligence officer and whistleblower Edward.J.Snowden, who exposed the espionage operations by the US’s National Security Agency. He was the co-recipient of the Prize in 2014, with documentary filmmaker and journalist, Laura Poitras.
El Basri will be the first woman from the Arab region to be awarded the Ridenhour Prize for Truth-Telling. She revealed that the United Nations undertook “systematic and constant maneuvers” to cover the crimes committed in Darfur in western Sudan, with the involvement of the “UN’s Secretary General Office.”
El Basri collaborated with American Magazine Foreign Policy in its investigation of the matter by providing highly confidential UN documents. Foreign Policy described the documents as “perhaps the largest single leak of internal documents on an active U.N. mission in the world body’s history.”
She resigned from her position as a spokesperson at the UN in January, 2014.
Born in Casablanca, Morocco, Aicha El Basri pursued her graduate studies in France beginning in 1989. She studied French literature at the universities of Grenoble and Chambéry in south-eastern France.
El Basri then moved to New York where she began working for the United Nations. She initially worked in the Department of News and Media.
She was assigned her first mission in Baghdad as head of the information office of the UN in 2005. Five months later, she was appointed spokesperson for the United Nations Program for Development in Khartoum, Sudan.
Besides the Truth-Telling Prize, the Ridenhour Prizes also include the Courage Prize, the Book Prize, the Documentary Film Prize and the Prize for Reportorial Distinction.