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News »  Human Rights Award  » Human Rights Award  :
General Assembly

Department of Public Information . News and Media Division . New York



The President of the General Assembly, Miguel d´Escoto Brockmann, today announced the winners of the prestigious United Nations Prize in the Field of Human Rights for 2008: Ms. Louise Arbour, Mr. Ramsey Clark, Dr. Carolyn Gomes, Dr. Denis Mukwege and Human Rights Watch. Benazir Bhutto and Sister Dorothy Stang were awarded the Prize posthumously.

The award is given to individuals and organizations in recognition of their outstanding contribution to the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms. Previous recipients have included Nelson Mandela, Amnesty International, Jimmy Carter, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Reverend Dr. Martin L. King.

"As we mark the sixtieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we acknowledge the tireless work and invaluable contribution of these individuals and organizations that have fought to see the rights and freedoms embodied in this historic document become a reality for people in all corners of the world", said the General Assembly President.

President d'Escoto continued, "These awardees constitute symbols of persistence, valour and tenacity in their resistance to public and private authorities that violate human rights. They constitute a moral force to put an end to systematic human rights violations. In doing so, they are an inspiration to all of us who seek and believe another type of society, another type of political system, another economic model, another world is possible where all persons will be treated as brothers and sisters, without discrimination, exclusion or destruction of life in all its forms."

The Human Rights Prize is awarded every five years, in accordance with a resolution of the General Assembly, which was adopted in 1966. The Prize was first awarded on 10 December 1968, the International Year for Human Rights and the twentieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The recipients of the Prize were selected by a committee comprised of the President of the General Assembly (Chairperson), the President of the Economic and Social Council, the President of the Human Rights Council, the Chairperson of the Commission on the Status of Women, and the Chairperson of the Advisory Committee of the Human Rights Council.

The committee had met in New York, with the assistance of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, on 21 November to select the awardees from among 189 nominations received, in accordance with the established rules.

The Prize will be awarded at the plenary meeting of the General Assembly at United Nations Headquarters in New York on Human Rights Day, 10 December.

A press conference with some of the Human Rights Prize awardees will take place in room S-226 at United Nations Headquarters on 10 December.

For further information, please contact: Renata Sivacolundhu, Department of Public Information, tel: +1 212 963 2932; e-mail:


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