The Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland has been awarded the Council of the Bar of Ireland's Human Rights Award for 2021.

It was presented to MASI representatives at a ceremony in Dublin today.

The award was in "recognition of their work with those in Direct Provision, and in the community, advocating for better legal and social protection, as well as access to State services, including education".

MASI co-ordinator and the group's co-founder, Lucky Khambule, said the accolade was a "tribute to tireless campaigners who gave so much of themselves to the movement".

MASI was founded in 2014 to advocate for those living in Direct Provision and seeking asylum in Ireland.

Mr Khambule said its work was "driven by a burning desire to live in a more just and fairer society".

He added: "Inspired by our lived experiences, MASI organised as a collective with a belief that we can shape our future."

Maura McNally, Chair of The Bar of Ireland, with Bulelani Mfaco and Lucky Khambule

Barrister and Chair of the Bar Council's Human Rights Committee, Joseph O'Sullivan, said MASI "campaigned on behalf of some of the most vulnerable people in our country".

"MASI are to be congratulated for their unbending commitment to the welfare of those who are in Direct Provision, those who are seeking to integrate into the community; as well as being an important voice in policy debates and formulation," he added.

Maura McNally SC, Chair of The Bar of Ireland, said MASI's work on Direct Provision deserved special recognition.

Ms NcNally called for commitments under the White Paper on Direct Provision to be met and said MASI's "steadfast campaigning and advocacy should serve as a vital reminder to politicians, lawyers and society in general of the importance of human rights, the bedrock of any democracy and rule of law".

Previous recipients of the award include Dr Mike Ryan, Executive Director of the WHO Health Emergencies Programme (2020), Holocaust survivor Tomáš Reichental (2019), Cystic Fibrosis Advocate Orla Tinsley (2018) and historian Catherine Corless (2017).