DE DERECHOS HUMANOS WINS
2002 UNESCO HUMAN RIGHTS EDUCATION PRIZE
Paris, November 12 - UNESCO Director-General
Koichiro Matsuura has announced the Academia Mexicana de Derechos
Humanos (AMDH) as winner of the 2002 UNESCO Human Rights Education
The AMDH, which was recommended
by an international jury that met in Paris on 28 and 29 October,
is pioneering the spread of human rights education in Mexico.
Founded in 1983 by a group of figures from different sectors of
civil society, it has been carrying out a range of activities,
such as offering human rights classes, producing and distributing
educational material and using radio and TV to raise public awareness
about human rights.
The Academy has trained many target
groups, including community leaders and players from civil society.
It has played a key part in setting up a national network of ombudsmen
and human rights commissions at federal and state level. It has
also helped establish election monitoring and has generally encouraged
democratic growth in Mexico.
Three Honourable Mentions were
made. One went to Benin's Institut des droits de l'homme et de
promotion de la démocratie: la Démocratie au quotidien
(IDH), an NGO founded in 1993 to train and educate citizens about
human rights and democracy. It is headed by Professor Maurice
Glele Ahanhanzo and has put together courses in the country's
An Honourable Mention went to Ionna
Kuçuradi (Turkey), professor of philosophy at Hacettepe
University (Ankara), where since 1981 she has taught courses in
human rights. She set up the university's Centre of Research and
Application of the Philosophy of Human Rights and has held a UNESCO
chair of philosophy for human rights at the university since 1998.
She also chairs the Turkish national committee for the United
Nations Decade for Human Rights Education and heads the ethics
committee of the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey.
An Honourable Mention also went
to Nyameko Barney Pityana, the first president of South Africa's
Human Rights Commission, where he has helped set up human rights
education and anti-racism programmes and activities. Author of
several publications on racism, Dr Pityana has also chaired a
Commission set up in 2000 by the South African government to promote
equality and prevent discrimination.
The six-member jury was: Abdelfattah
Amor (Tunisia), UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or
Belief and vice-president of the UN Human Rights Commission; Guido
Gerin (Italy), president of the International Institute for the
Study of Human Rights in Trieste; Kinhide Mushakoji (Japan), head
of the Human Rights Information and Documentation Centre (Hu-Rights
Osaka); Nasila S. Rembe (Tanzania), holder of the Oliver Tambo
Human Rights Chair at South Africa's Fort Hare University; Dina
Rodriguez Montero (Peru), Director of the Gender and Peace Studies
Department at the United Nations University for Peace (Costa Rica);
Rumen Valchev (Bulgaria), holder of the UNESCO Chair for Human
Rights and the Culture of Peace at Bourgas Free University, in
The UNESCO Prize for Human Rights
Education, awarded every two years, was founded in 1978 on the
30th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
to encourage and honour institutions, organisations or individuals
for substantially furthering human rights education.
Recent laureates have included:
Václav Havel (Czech Republic) in 1990, the Arab Institute
of Human Rights, IADH, (Tunisia) in 1992; the Philippine Human
Rights Commission and Chilean academic José Zalaquett Daher
(1994); the former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide (1996);
Justice Michael Kirby of the High Court of Australia (1998) and
the City of Nuremberg, in 2000.
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