ICORN and Danish PEN win the Hal Koch award

Added: June 2009 to Network News



"Democracy is not a  victory that has been won, but a constant battle", Hal Koch wrote in 1945. His book "What is democracy?" has been an important influence on the development of democracy in Denmark. This year, the award in his name is given to ICORN, and to Danish PEN for their efforts to bring Danish cities into the Cities of Refuge Network.  


The Hal Koch award is given annually to a person or organization that has taken on a particular responsibility for the development and vitality of democracy. This year, Krogerup Folk High School is highlighting the work to protect persecuted writers and their freedom to criticize governments, create art and participate in democratic debate without risking persecution and arrest.


"The two organizations fight a daily battle to ensure that freedom of expression, security and democratic debate are respected as universal rights that also apply to participants in the public debate in countries where critical debate is not popular," says Rikke Forchhammer, director of Krogerup.


In 2008, the Danish Parliament, inspired by ICORN and Danish PEN, passed a law that allows Danish cities to join ICORN and grants permission for persecuted writers to live in Denmark and continue their work there. However, as no financial support is given to the cities wishing to join the network, no writer has yet been invited to a Danish city of refuge.  Danish PEN is currently working to find a cooperative solution involving both the state and the municipalities so that Danish cities can start joining the network.



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