Korean people win Friedrich Ebert human rights award for candlelight rallies

October 18, 2017

Readers of this blog know my special interest in human rights awards. So you will understand my surprise to learn that the Friedrich Ebert Foundation has granted its 2017 Human Rights Award to all South Korean citizens (a total of 17 million!!) who took to the streets to protest against President Park Geun-hye for months and peacefully removed her from power.

Sven Schwersensky, resident representative at Friedrich Ebert Stiftung’s Korea office, talks about the Human Rights Prize during a press briefing Monday (Yonhap)

As Ock Hyun-ju reported in the Korea Herald of 16 October 2017: “The peaceful exercise of democratic participation and in particular the civic right of peaceful assembly are the essential components of democracy,” said Sven Schwersensky, resident representative in Korea. “In our view, the people’s candlelight demonstrations have given the whole world evidence of this important fact….At the time, authoritarianism was on the rise everywhere in the world, even in the western world,” he said, citing the UN special rapporteur Maina Kiai, who addressed the diminishing rights to public assembly and free speech under the former Park administration during his visit to Korea in 2016. “People of Korea showed resistance to authoritarianism.”

The organizing committee for candlelight demonstrations — an association of over 1,500 civic groups, labor unions and student organizations — took the prize on behalf of all Koreans. The committee received 20,000 euros ($23,590) in prize money. How the money will be spent has not been decided yet, it said.  The award ceremony will take place in Berlin on 5 December. [see also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2014/11/12/friedrich-ebert-award-goes-to-fartuun-adan-from-somalia/]

More about the FES Human Rights Prize: http://www.trueheroesfilms.org/thedigest/awards/friedrich-ebert-foundation-human-rights-award

Source: [Newsmaker] Koreans win global prize for candlelight rallies

2 Responses to “Korean people win Friedrich Ebert human rights award for candlelight rallies”


  1. […] a week ago I mentioned the curiously collective award given to the South-Korean people [https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2017/10/18/korean-people-win-friedrich-ebert-human-rights-award-fo…], and now the European Parliament has awarded its Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought to […]


  2. […] human rights awards go broad groups of people. After the Ebert Prize to the  South Korean people [https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2017/10/18/korean-people-win-friedrich-ebert-human-rights-award-fo…] and the EP’s Sakharov award to the Venezuelan opposition […]


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