Upon handing over the Martin Ennals Foundation to Mrs Micheline Calmy Rey

April 24, 2012

Deutsch: Schweizer Bundesrätin de:Micheline Ca...

It took almost 20 years but I finally have been able to step down as Chair of the Martin Ennals Foundation. Yesterday the Board accepted my resignation and selected Micheline Calmy Rey as my successor (now that is upgrading!). In an hour from now she will be announced as such at the press conference in Geneva which is being streamed on http://www.martinennalsaward.org.

My departure has been carefully crafted since November last year but we have been most fortunate that in the meantime Micheline Calmy Rey left her government position and accepted the challenge to lead the MEA to its destiny as the most influential human rights award in the world. I realize that this is not a modest thing to say but I think that facts speak for themselves:

The MEA has a Jury composed of the world’s leading international human rights organisations, a unique cooperation among sometimes competing NGOs. The Laureates over the last twenty years have been outstanding examples and have all claimed that the recognition of the award has helped them in continuing their work.

The growth of the impact of the award has a lot to do, not only with its longevity, but also with the joining of forces by other entities, in the first place the City of Geneva which is now the main organiser of the ceremony at Victoria Hall.

I am sure that the foundation will be able to pursue the increased use of multimedia techniques for protecting the HRDs.  As this is often a question of resources, I will continue to advise the MEA in particular with regard to fundraising and publicity.

So, I am not really retiring; there are simply too many Human Rights Defenders out there who need support. This year’s nominees, who will be introduced to you in a few hours, illustrate the need for international recognition and protection.

Geneva, 24 April 2012

2 Responses to “Upon handing over the Martin Ennals Foundation to Mrs Micheline Calmy Rey”


  1. Congratulations on a job well done, and wishing you a happy retirement. Although I am sure you will still find there is plenty to do!


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