Archive for the 'awards' Category

Anson Chan, Hong Kong human rights defender, is winner of 2018 O’Connor Justice Prize

February 20, 2018

Anson Chan, a longtime Hong Kong dignitary and fierce advocate of human rights and the rule of law, was awarded the O’Connor Justice Prize in Arizona. Hope more in this and other international human rights awards, see: http://trueheroesfilms.org/thedigest/awards/o-connor-justice-prize.

I am deeply honored to be awarded the 2018 O’Connor Justice Prize and to join the company of three most distinguished predecessors,” said Chan, the fourth recipient of the award. “The values embodied within the spirit of this prize, namely advancement of the rule of law, justice and human rights, are particularly close to my heart, and it is a privilege to be associated with an award that celebrates Justice O’Connor’s extraordinary legacy.”

Known as “Hong Kong’s conscience” for her decades of devotion to social justice and democracy, Chan recounted how she and O’Connor had blazed similar trails that broke through gender barriers. While O’Connor was the first woman to serve as a state Senate majority leader and first to join the U.S. Supreme Court, Chan was the first woman to be appointed head of a Hong Kong government department, first female policy secretary and the first woman — as well as the first ethnic Chinese citizen — to be appointed head of the civil service.

Chan expressed concerns about Hong Kong’s independence, describing increasing oversight by the Chinese government. She pointed to the changes that have taken place in the two decades since the transfer of sovereignty from British rule in 1997, a transition that Chan helped oversee in her role as chief secretary for administration.

 

O'Connor Justice Prize advisory board

The O’Connor Justice Prize advisory board with the 2018 O’Connor Justice Prize recipient, the Honorable Anson Chan (center).

Chan’s words drew a response the next day from the Hong Kong government. In a release, the government said, “Statements made arbitrarily to undermine the rule of law and our well-recognized reputation in this regard is not conducive to Hong Kong’s progress.

 

https://asunow.asu.edu/20180219-‘hong-kong’s-conscience’-anson-chan-accepts-o’connor-justice-prize-warns-china’s

South African human rights defender turned teacher among the last ten nominees for the Teacher Prize

February 16, 2018

, a Forbes contributor on Africa, reports that Marjorie Brown, a South African teacher has been named a top 10 finalist for the Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Prize 2018, which was announced today by Microsoft founder and philanthropist Bill Gates at globalteacherprize.org.

Now in its fourth year, the US$1 million award is the largest prize of its kind. In a special video message announcing the top ten finalists, Bill Gates paid a glowing tribute to the work of teachers around the world. “When you think about what drives progress and improvement in the world, education is like a master switch—one that opens up all sorts of opportunities for individuals and societies….and research has shown that having a great teacher can be the most important factor that determines whether students get a great education,” he said.

Marjorie Brown is a former human rights defender who teaches history to female students at Roedean School, Johannesburg, whilst encouraging critical thinking and global citizenship. Her students have gone on to represent South Africa at youth forums, the Paris Climate Talks and various Ivy League universities.

Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli (L) performs during the Global Teacher Prize ceremony in Dubai on March 19, 2017. Photo credit should read KARIM SAHIB/AFP/Getty Images)

She is widely credited with bringing the New Zealand originated Kids Lit Quiz programme, devoted to improving children’s literacy, to South Africa. This global quiz programme now has more than 100 South African schools participating, which has boosted the stocks of books in libraries throughout the land and mobilized teachers to act as coaches and reading champions with students. Marjorie also founded the Phendulani literacy quiz, which will have spread to over 100 schools this year, while the South African Department of Education plans to introduce it to 45 reading clubs involving over 225 pupils, with publishers Pan Macmillan aiming to start a Phendulani quiz in a poor area near Johannesburg.

Marjorie Brown and the other finalists were selected from over 30,000 nominations and applications from 173 countries around the world. The top ten were subsequently narrowed down from a top 50 shortlist that was announced in December 2017… The other nine finalists for the Global Teacher Prize 2018 come from turkey, Brazil Norway, Belgium and the United States among other countries.

 https://www.forbes.com/sites/mfonobongnsehe/2018/02/14/1-million-global-teacher-prize-2018-south-african-teacher-marjorie-brown-makes-top-ten/#262cf2594901

Student dissertation award in the Netherlands goes to Canadian study on Police failures to combat sexual assault

February 14, 2018

This blog has a keen eye for all human rights awards, so I report with pride rather than embarrassment that the 7th Thoolen NJCM Dissertation Prize 2017 goes to Sylvie McCallum Rougerie. Sylvie wrote her dissertation on ‘Police Failures to Combat Sexual Assault: Lessons from International and Regional Human Rights Law for Improving Accountability under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms’.

No less than four student dissertations made the final cut this time. They were assessed on the following criteria: originality of the chosen human-rights based theme, development thereof; academic level; degree of innovative insight; and accessibility.  Tied for second place are Jordi Bierens and Danielle Snaathorst. Jordi wrote his dissertation on the growing influence of fundamental rights on European copyright rules. Danielle wrote about ‘The Curious Case of the Legitimate Aim. Understanding the “Legitimate Aim” Test of the European Court of Human Rights in Cases Concerning Freedom of Religion’. The third place goes to Jake Tingen. He wrote his dissertation on the tension between the freedom of information and the Dutch Public Access to Government Information Act.

The prize for winning the Thoolen NJCM Dissertation Prize is the publication of the winning dissertation by NJCM’s publishing house, Stichting NJCM-Boekerij. The award ceremony will take place during NJCM’s seminar on 12 April 2018 in The Hague (from 7.00 to 8.30 pm).

See also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2016/03/03/dissertation-on-social-rights-and-austerity-wins-thoolen-njcm-award-2016/

https://njcm.nl/actueel/and-the-thoolen-njcm-dissertation-prize-2017-goes-to/

Mo Ibrahim Prize 2017 to Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

February 12, 2018

After twice skipping a winner, the 2017 Mo Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership has been awarded to Liberia’s former president, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

Sirleaf, the continent’s first elected female president, left office in late January, after overseeing the first democratic transfer of power in Liberia since 1944. The 79-year-old Nobel laureate came to power in 2006, just two years after the end of a 14-year civil war that saw more than 250,000 people killed and another million displaced. During her two terms in office, Sirleaf tackled the spread of Ebola in the West African nation, developed the economy and championed the cause of women. Opponents said she did not do enough to tackle corruption while in office.

In their citation, the prize committee commended her “exceptional and transformative leadership” in leading the recovery efforts, strengthening democratic institutions and improving human rights.

The prize is special in that it gives large amounts of money for life to former African leaders. See: http://trueheroesfilms.org/thedigest/awards/ibrahim-prize-for-achievement-in-african-leadership

http://mo.ibrahim.foundation/prize/

Africa’s most prestigious leadership award goes to the continent’s first elected female president

NB I apologize for an erroneous post of 21 November 2017 attributing the Ibrahim Prize (2017) to former Cape Verde President Pedro Verona Pires. He received it in 2011!

Asma Jahangir, one of the world’s most outstanding human rights defenders, dies at age 66

February 11, 2018

 

 

 

Prominent Pakistani human rights defender and lawyer Asma Jahangir has died at the age of 66. She reportedly suffered a cardiac arrest and was taken to hospital, where she later died.

She was one of the most recognized and honored human rights defenders with over 17 human rights awards, including the Martin Ennals Award in 1995, whose film on her work shows a much younger Asma, fearless in spite of threats on her life:

I met her for the first time in 1993 at the 2nd World Conference on Human Rights in Vienna, where she deeply impressed me by standing up and openly criticizing her fellow NGO representatives for having tried to prevent former President Jimmy Carte from speaking at the NGO forum. This principled stand was a hallmark of her life as Pakistani human rights lawyer and as UN Special Rapporteur. In many instances she was able to give sound advice on cases of other human rights defenders in difficulty. For earlier posts on Asma see: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/tag/asma-jahangir/

Asma Jahangir’s career in short:

  • Trained as a lawyer and worked in Pakistan’s Supreme Court from age 30
  • A critic of the military establishment
  • Jailed in 1983 for pro-democracy activities
  • Put under house arrest in 2007 for opposing military leader’s removal of Supreme Court chief justice
  • Co-founder of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan and of the first free legal aid centre in Pakistan (together with her sister Hina Jilani)
  • Co-founder of the Women’s Action Forum, set up to oppose law that reduced a woman’s testimony in court to half that of a man’s
  • The first female leader of Pakistan’s Supreme Court bar association
  • Winner of 17 human rights awards and the French Legion of Honour
  • Served twice as UN special rapporteur: on freedom of religion and on later on Human Rights in Iran

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai called Ms Jahangir a “saviour of democracy and human rights”.

A prominent Pakistani lawyer, Salman Akram Raja, tweeted that Ms Jahangir was “the bravest human being I ever knew” and that the world was “less” without her.

A long interview with Asma you can find here: https://asiasociety.org/interview-asma-jahangir,

A 2017 interview can be found on the website of the RLA: https://vimeo.com/225966475

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https://www.economist.com/news/obituary/21736994-pakistans-loudest-voice-democracy-and-human-rights-was-66-obituary-asma-jahangir-died

Architect Teddy Cruz: “Can we design human rights?’

February 7, 2018

Teddy Cruz. Photo: The Aspen Institute Central Europe.
The Vilcek Foundation announced on 5 February the winners of its 2018 prize in the arts and humanities, which celebrates the breadth of immigrant contributions to the American arts and sciences. Focusing on the field of architecture, this year’s $100,000 award went to Teddy Cruz, a professor at University of California in San Diego and the director of design at Estudio Teddy Cruz + Fonna Forman, a research-based political and architectural practice.

Marica Vilcek, cofounder and vice chairman of the Vilcek Foundation, said: “With the Vilcek Prizes in Architecture, we are pleased to recognize the many ways in which they have shaped its physical landscape as well—through bold, original designs, and through research that challenges the status quo, both in the building arts and in society.”

Born in Guatemala, Cruz immigrated to California when he was twenty years old…Among his most recent projects completed with his partner Fonna Forman, are cross-border community spaces that host a variety of arts and educational programming on both sides of the US-Mexico border.

Today, we must expose rather than mask the institutional mechanisms driving uneven urban development,” Teddy Cruz and Fonna Forman wrote in the 2016 summer issue of Artforum. “Such a revelation requires a corresponding expansion of our understanding of the scope of architecture itself—can we design human rights, for example? Can social justice become an architectural protocol? In other words, the most important materials with which architects must learn to work are not steel and concrete but critical knowledge of the underlying conditions that produce today’s urban crises.

Established in 2000 by Jan and Marica Vilcek, immigrants from the former Czechoslovakia, the Vilcek Foundation aims to honor the contributions of immigrants to the United States and to foster appreciation of the arts and sciences. The foundation awards annual prizes to prominent immigrant biomedical scientists and artists working in the disciplines of music, film, culinary arts, literature, dance, contemporary music, design, fashion, theatre, and fine arts.

https://www.artforum.com/news/architect-teddy-cruz-wins-100-000-vilcek-prize-74148

Call for Nominations 2018 Right Livelihood Award

February 6, 2018

Do you know any brave person or organisation who works in a visionary and exemplary manner to solve global problems? Take the chance to propose a candidate for the 2018 Right Livelihood Award, widely known as the “Alternative Nobel Prize” The Right Livelihood Award is not an award for the world’s political, scientific or economic élite, but an award for the people and their work and struggles for a better future. [http://trueheroesfilms.org/thedigest/awards/right-livelihood-award] Everyone is welcome to propose candidates for the Right Livelihood Award and four recipients are chosen each year by an international jury after extensive research work. The deadline is 1 March 2018.

See also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2017/10/04/2017-right-livelihood-lau…

For the 170 previous Laureates from 69 countries click here.

 

Read more about the nomination process here. If you want to propose a candidate (preferably in English), please follow these guidelines.

Call for Nominations for the 2018 Lorenzo Natali Media Prizes

February 6, 2018

Applications for the European Commission‘s 2018 Lorenzo Natali Media Prize, which recognises journalists doing outstanding reporting on development topics, are open from 5 February to 9 March for online, print and audio-visual works.

Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development Neven Mimica said: “In an era of disinformation, fake news and digital algorithms, we need professional and fact-based journalism more than ever. The important work of journalists is not only crucial for democracy across the globe, but also gives visibility and a voice to those who would otherwise not be heard. Through their stories they inform, inspire, and call for much-needed change. With this prize, we thank them for their determination and encourage them to keep up the fight.”

The Lorenzo Natali Media Prize is awarded to journalists reporting on issues such as poverty eradication and the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development. Journalists are invited to submit their work, be it in print, digital, radio or TV broadcast format. Deadline: 9 March 2018. Detailed information on the specific rules and criteria are available online. The prize has two categories based on age groups: 21 to 26 years, and 27 years plus. For each category there will be a winner from each region: Africa; the Arab World and the Middle East; Asia and the Pacific; Latin America and the Caribbean; and Europe.

A “Grand Winner” will be selected among the regional winners [this is the award listed in the Digest: http://trueheroesfilms.org/thedigest/awards/lorenzo-natali-grand-prize-for-development-and-human-rights] and an additional thematic prize will be awarded for work focused on the elimination of violence against women and girls.

The selection will be carried out by a “Grand Jury” composed of renowned journalists from across the world. This year’s jury members include Bruce Shapiro from the Columbia School of Journalism, Peruvian reporter and founder of “Panorámica Lationamericana” Isabel Recavarren, New Delhi-based journalist and President of the Commonwealth Journalists Association Mahendra Ved, Le Soir’s Maroun Labaki, and Mary Harper, the BBC World Service’s Africa Editor.

All 11 winners will receive their awards at a ceremony during the 2018 European Development Days in Brussels this June.

Application

Call for nominations for the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award

February 1, 2018

In 1984, Robert F. Kennedy’s eldest child, Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, saw a need to celebrate and support activists whose work reflected his conviction that one person can make a difference and that each of us should try. That year, Kathleen founded the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award to honor courageous human rights defenders who spoke truth to power. In the years since, RFK Human Rights has forged strategic partnerships with its laureates, whose work advances human rights causes all over the world. In combining resources and collaborating on ideas and strategies with RFK Human Rights, the laureates have been able to amplify their transformative work and broaden awareness of their causes to a worldwide audience. The deadline for nominations is 31 March, 2018. For more information on this and other awards: http://trueheroesfilms.org/thedigest/awards/robert-f-kennedy-human-rights-award.

See also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2017/10/24/ceremony-for-alfredo-romero-recipient-of-the-2017-robert-f-kennedy-human-rights-award-on-16-november/

Information regarding the nomination process can be found here.

For more information, please email nominations@rfkhumanrights.org.

27 January Holocaust Memorial Day 2018: 3 heroes from the past

January 27, 2018

The Independent uses 27 January 2018 “Holocaust Memorial Day 2018″ to draw attention to three unsung heroes and human rights defenders who helped Europe’s Jews escape the Nazis.

The piece states that:“While some like Oskar Schindler and Nicholas Winterton are well known, here are the tales of three less-heralded saviours to whom thousands owe their lives“. That may be true for the first two, but not Raoul Wallenberg who has an Institute in Lund, Sweden and three human rights awards [http://trueheroesfilms.org/thedigest] named after him.

Irena Sendler

irena-sendler.jpg
Irena Sendler (Wikimedia Commons)

Polish nurse Irena Sendler (1910-2008), often known as “Jolanta”, served as head of the children’s department of Zegota, the Polish Council to Aid Jews. It was operated by underground resistance fighters in German-occupied Warsaw between 1942 and 1945. She is credited with smuggling 2,500 Jewish children out of the Polish capital’s ghetto…. “Every child saved with my help is the justification of my existence on this earth and not a title to glory,” she once said.

Frank Foley

frank-foley.jpg
Frank Foley (Wikimedia Commons)

A British Secret Intelligence officer who became known as “the Scarlet Pimpernel”, Frank Foley (1884-1958) became known for “bending the rules” while working undercover at a passport control office in Berlin and allowing Jews to escape Germany….So he stamped passports and issued visas allowing fleeing Jews to escape to Britain and Palestine in defiance of the authorities during the Kristallnacht pogrom. ..Although he had died aged 74, three years earlier, it was said at Adolf Eichmann’s trial in 1961 that Foley was responsible for saving “tens of thousands” of lives.

Raoul Wallenberg

raoul-wallenberg.jpg
Raoul Wallenberg (Wikimedia Commons)

Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg (born 1912) played a similarly pivotal role in rescuing Jews from Hungary.  There, he issued protective passports recognising them as Swedish citizens. He also sheltered those victimised by the Nuremburg Race Laws (imposed by Germany in 1935) in 32 government buildings across Budapest, which he had designated Swedish territory.