Dr. Aicha Elbasri

Dr. Elbasri was the spokesperson for the African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur when she witnessed first-hand how the UN was obscuring the reality of atrocities being committed against Darfuris and failing to protect civilians. As the UN continually blamed civilian deaths on factors beyond its control, Elbasri struggled with providing honest responses to reporters as her higher-ups obfuscated the truth. Unwilling to be a part of a mission that was lying to the public, Elbasri resigned eight months into the position. Out of a desire to bring to light the numerous oversights and abuses within the operation, she disclosed thousands of documents illustrating the operation’s failings to Foreign Policy magazine. Elbasri’s revelations and subsequent activism clearly demonstrated her commitment to holding the UN accountable. The case garnered widespread international attention and in June 2014, the International Criminal Court called upon the UN to conduct an independent investigation into the allegations. As a result of Elbasri’s disclosures, the UN was pressured to conduct an internal review of the mission. In 2015, she received the Ridenhour Prize for her truth-telling.