This prize is awarded annually to writers and journalists who are persecuted or had to flee because they wielded their pen in a critical manner. Chi Dang has been exiled from Vietnam and is on the blacklist for her work on the human rights situation in her country of birth. The Iranian-Canadian journalists Maziar Bahari, the Georgian writer Irakli Kakabadze, the Sri Lankan journalist Sonali Samarasinghe and the Colombian columnist Daniel Coronell are also being awarded, but will not be present for the festival.
The Vietnamese writer Chi Dang has written countless articles on human rights in Vietnam. She reaches a broad audience through publications in youth magazines, on the internet, in newspapers, weeklies, monthlies and radio programmes. Dang does not only publish in Canada, where she lives, but also in many other countries, including Vietnam. Furthermore, she is co-founder of the Free Journalist Network in Vietnam, and has set up a foundation against human trafficking, prostitution and violence against women and children in the Mekong delta.
The international writers' association PEN (Poets, editors, essay writers, novelists) is a partner organisation of Oxfam Novib and is committed to supporting persecuted writers. The PEN Emergency Fund assists persecuted and refugee writers with a one-off contribution of 2,500 euro, to help them keep their heads about the water. Every year five awards are presented, but only one of the laureates visits the Netherlands. Previous the Oxfam Novib/PEN Award winner include Hrant Dink (Turkey), Duong Thu Huong (Vietnam) and Anna Politkovskaya (Russia). Last year Dejan Anastasijevic (Serbia) received the award. As the international city of justice, peace and security The Hague is an apt location for presenting the award.