Press release

Freedom House Awards 2022 Mark Palmer Prize to First Deputy Foreign Minister of Ukraine Emine Dzhaparova

Career journalist and civil-servant, Deputy Minister Dzhaparova has been a longtime advocate for human rights protections and press freedom in Ukraine, and Crimea in particular.

Freedom House today awarded the 2022 Mark Palmer Prize to First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Emine Dzhaparova for her support of the Ukrainian people, especially Crimean Tatars, and her leadership against Moscow’s aggression. The Mark Palmer Prize, given in honor of the late US ambassador, Freedom House trustee, and foreign policy innovator Mark Palmer, recognizes diplomats and civil servants who have taken bold and creative steps, long demonstrated a commitment to the advancement of democracy and freedom, and gone beyond their normal course of duties to promote democracy and human rights. Dzhaparova will accept the prize remotely today.

“Throughout her career in public service, Deputy Minister Dzhaparova has championed human rights in Ukraine and stood bravely against Kremlin aggression,” said Michael J. Abramowitz, president of Freedom House. “Ukraine is on the front lines of a global battle between democracy and authoritarianism, and Deputy Minister Dzhaparova’s tireless efforts to ensure that democracy prevails go well beyond traditional diplomacy. Her leadership within the Crimea Platform, which aims to reverse Russia’s illegal annexation and occupation of Crimea and protect the rights of Crimean Tatars—faithfully upholds the legacy of Mark Palmer. We are honored to award her this year’s prize.”

“Ambassador Palmer’s dedication to diplomacy has advanced democracy and human rights for countless people around the world,” said Minister Dzhaparova. “I am honored to receive this award. For me, it is a sign that I am on the right path and that the international community is on our side—the side of international law, democracy, and human rights. I will continue to be a champion of the people of Ukraine as we persevere in the fight to protect our essential freedoms.”

Dzhaparova has served as the first deputy foreign minister of Ukraine since June 2020. She previously held roles as the first deputy minister of information policy, an advisor to the minister of information policy, and as a journalist for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. Throughout her career, Dzhaparova has advocated extensively for the rights of imprisoned journalists, for human rights protections in Ukraine, and for the rights of Crimean Tatars, who have faced longstanding political persecution and repression by Russian and Soviet authorities.

Prior to the February 2022 invasion, Minister Dzhaparova led work on the Crimea Platform, an international coordination and consultation platform initiated by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy designed to keep an international spotlight on Russia's illegal occupation of Crimea and de-occupy the peninsula. Her team led a Twitter campaign — #CrimeaIsBleeding — to highlight Russia’s human rights abuses in Crimea and streamlined the process for foreign journalists to report from the occupied peninsula. Since the invasion, Dzhaparova has rallied the international community to support Ukraine and condemn the illegal forced conscription of Crimean residents, especially Crimean Tatars, into the Russian Armed Forces, and has called for investigations into reported war crimes committed by Russian forces in Ukraine.

“The history of the Crimean Tatar people is one of centuries-long repression and persecution, committed by rulers in Moscow. My parents instilled in me a deep knowledge and understanding of this history. Promoting human rights is consequently very personal to me and a natural manifestation of the values of my people. When the Russian regime launched aggression against the Ukrainian people and occupied Crimea eight years ago, I left the peninsula with a promise that I would come back. Since then, I have dedicated my lifepath to the struggle for justice. The current Russian aggression started with Crimea and will be resolved there.”

“Through her distinguished service in the Ukrainian government and as a journalist, Minister Dzhaparova has demonstrated courage and conviction as a champion of human rights for the people of Ukraine,” said Sushma Palmer, Freedom House trustee and Chair of the Mark Palmer Prize Committee. “We are proud to award Minister Dzhaparova with this year’s Mark Palmer prize.”

The Mark Palmer Prize is made possible through the generosity of the Mark and Sushma Palmer Legacy Fund, established by Sushma Palmer in loving memory of her late husband Ambassador Mark Palmer.

Freedom House is now soliciting nominations for the 2023 Mark Palmer Prize. Nominations must be submitted via the nomination webpage here by December 31, 2022.

Freedom House is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that works to create a world where all are free. We inform the world about threats to freedom, mobilize global action, and support democracy’s defenders.