Dr. Binayak Sen, Human Rights Prize Winner speech, and Special Prize Winner Speeches

Here is the announcement of this year’s Gwangju Human Rights Award Winner Dr. Binayak Sen, of India, and the two Speical Prize winners Daniela Kitain and Mazen Faraj, both of the Parents Circle Families Forum of Palestine/Israel.

Announcement of the 2011 Gwangju Prize for Human Rights
2011 Gwangju Prize For Human Rights Special Award
The Gwangju Prize for Human Rights Committee 2011 would like to announce that the Committee has selected Binayak Sen as the winner of the Gwangju Prize for Human Rights 2011. Binayak Sen, as an accomplished medical practitioner has distinguished himself by his devotion to providing health services for the poor and by his strong advocacy against human rights violations and structural violence inflicted on the poor in Chhattisgarh, a state in central India. Apart from that, he has also been active in the People’s Union for Civil Liberties documenting human rights violations occurring during the anti-Naxalite conflict.
Binayak Sen has demonstrated through his life’s work his steadfast commitment to victims of human rights violations who have been struggling against state violence, as a result of which he was imprisoned, under the special security act of the Indian authorities, in May 2007. Amnesty International has labeled him as a prisoner of conscience, as his case highlights the many human rights violations which derive from abuse of the security laws in India.
Despite the determined efforts of 45 Nobel Laureates and of global civil society campaigning on his behalf, he was given a life sentence by order of the court in December 2010. However on 18th April 2011, he was released on bail by the Supreme Court. Indeed, it was very good news to hear of his release on bail by the Supreme Court though it is also difficult to say how the final decision will be made by the Indian justice system. We are very much concerned about the sentence, as he has been dedicating his whole life to the poor.
India on the other hand, is a rising country which has been making progress in economic development, and whose population is becoming more than 1.1billion. India’s progress has given hope to many Asian countries as a leading country which escaped the long time shadow of colonization. The human rights situation in India, however, fails to reach the expectations of global society.
We sincerely believe that this prize may become the opportunity to cherish the memory of activists everywhere who are under the pressure of state violence, including Irom Sharmila, and therefore, the committee’s aspiration as expressed in the awarding of this year’s prize to Binayak Sen also reaches from Asia to the Middle East region, which is spreading out its hope for democratization as a path to realizing human rights and peace.

Moreover, we would like to announce that we have selected the Parents Circle Families Forum – Israeli-Palestinian Bereaved Families for Peace as the winner of the Gwangju Prize for Human Rights Special Award. PCFF, made up of over 500 bereaved families in 1995, has undertaken great efforts in the midst of ongoing violence to transform their incredible loss and pain into reconciliation and peace, which Gwangju, the City of May pursues.

21 April 2011

The Gwangju Prize for Human Rights Committee 2011

Chair of Committee
Yu Young-pyo (Korea Democracy Foundation)
Members of Committee
Park Young-kwan (Busan Democratic Movement Memorial Association)
Lee Jeong-hyun (National Assembly)
Son Shim-gil (National Human Rights Commission)
Kim Jun-tae (The May 18 Memorial Foundation)

Laureate’s Speech

Binayak Sen (Human Rights Activist, India)

I am greatly honored to be chosen as the 2011 recipient of the prestigious Gwangju Prize for Human Rights. It is indeed an honor not just for me but also the countless other human rights workers struggling to establish justice, peace and equity all over India, including Chhattisgarh where I live and work. Let me begin by thanking all those who have taken the time to advocate about me and on behalf of me, and then take this opportunity to speak for myself and in my own words.

I would like to thank the people of South Korea and in particular the citizens of Gwangju whose historic struggles have made freedom, democracy and justice core values of their society. The martyrs of Gwangju will remain an inspiration to people all over Asia as we struggle to make the world a better place.

First, I shall try to briefly clear up some possible misconceptions about myself. I did not violate any laws and never was disloyal to the people of my country. I condemn, unequivocally, all violence by any and all individuals and agencies. I believe that violence is an invalid and unsustainable approach to achieving goals, whether these are the goals of the state or the goals of individuals operating outside the law. Because the state is sworn to uphold the Constitution, I believe we are entitled hold agents of the state to a higher standard than we hold outlaws. As members and office-bearers of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties, it is the responsibility of my colleagues and myself to help hold the state accountable to the promises of the Indian Constitution. But the state does not only consist of the government or its agencies. As a society, we are all part of the state, and there would be no state without us. We often tend to think of violence only in terms of the use of weapons and explosives against others. However, there is another form of violence in society, which is structural in nature, which I believe is even more pervasive and pernicious than guns and bombs, because it is all around us and we have stopped noticing it. It is this other form of violence that concerns me as a paediatrician and public health physician.

I would like to begin my speech here today by first telling you very briefly about myself and my work but follow this up with my perspectives on what is happening in my home country India, which is home to over one-sixth of all humanity on this planet. I will also try to deal with the global context which is affecting the health and human rights situation in India. It was nearly four decades ago that I, as a pediatrician trained at the Christian Medical College, Vellore in southern India after a brief stint at the Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi decided to go and work in Chhattisgarh. My graduate thesis at CMC had focused on severe malnutrition in children and the theme of nutrition and its interface with health and well being has been a life-long area of concern for me. Chhattisgarh, a province in central India that till ten years ago used to be part of the larger province of Madhya Pradesh, was created in 2000 as a separate state ostensibly to benefit the large population of indigenous people or ‘adivasis’ there. However, Chhattisgarh is also the most mineral rich state in the country and iron-ore, limestone, dolomite, coal, bauxite are found in abundance. The province also produces 20% of the India’s steel and cement and is also a major centre of thermal power production. Much of the mineral resource lies below adivasi lands. Yet throughout India a as well as in Chhattisgarh, the adivasis are a much-neglected group, long deprived of such basics as nutritional security, health care and education, who are now also suffering displacement from their natural habitat and their traditional livelihood resources as politically favoured commercial interests seek to exploit the state’s vast mineral wealth in their lands. When we first arrived here my wife Dr Ilina Sen(who is a sociologist with a special interest in gender studies) and I, decided to work with the Chhattisgarh Mines Shramik Sangh (CMSS)which was a unique trade union movement among mining and steel plant workers led by the legendary Shankar Guha Niyogi. Under Niyogi’s leadership, the mine workers’ organization led a militant struggle for the rights of indigenous, contractual mine workers, and combined this with a strong commitment to social initiatives that were anchored in the strength of the people. The idea of basing health outreach programmes on the strength of community based health workers was born here.

In the mid-eighties we moved to the capital city of Raipur and founded Rupantar, a community-based non-governmental organization (NGO) that aimed at an integrated approach to health care and human rights, including women’s rights and food security. Using this platform we contributed to the mainstreaming of health worker based community health programmes that has now been adopted nationally in India. However, my health work in Chhattisgarh for the last 30 years has demonstrated to me again and again that there is a clear relationship to peoples’ nutrition, social , economic and political well being and the state of their health. Health can never exist is isolation and without a broader concept of entitlements. My participation in human rights work started with my joining the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), a long-established and respected Indian human rights organization established by the late Jai Prakash Narayan during the dark days of the Emergency when the liberty of speech and expression ordinary citizens stood suspended. When the new state of Chhattisgarh was formed, I became the secretary of the PUCL in Chhattisgarh and in the course of time, its National Vice-President. A lot of my human rights work consisted of highlighting the deprivations of the tribal communities and exposing instances of state insensitivity as well as police atrocities against them. This was a period when the government of Chhattisgarh was engaged in a major project of land acquisition and mega development that deprived the adivasis of their access to common property resources in land, water and forest, as well as existing livelihood options. State action in the forested parts of the province, ostensibly against the Maoists, severely compromised normal life, with repressive laws, police brutality, and the sponsorship of a vicious civilian militia or vigilante group called the Salwa Judum. On behalf of the PUCL, my colleagues and I organised objective enquiries into the atrocities of this militia. We also led enquiries into so called “encounter killings”, by which security agencies sometimes secretly liquidate suspected militants. One such enquiry ultimately led to registration of criminal cases and issuing of arrest warrants against eight erring police officers, much to the discomfort of the state police. The PUCL has also strongly criticized over the years the forced displacement of the adivasis without proper rehabilitation and without sharing with them the fruits of economic development which is mainly based on exploitation of mineral wealth located in their natural habitat.
Almost certainly because of my growing involvement in human rights work and exposure of state atrocities on indigenous populations on 14 May 2007, I was detained for allegedly supporting the outlawed Maoists, thereby violating the provisions of the Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act 2005 (CSPSA) and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act 1967, and for indulgence in seditious activity.

On 24 December 2010 a lower court in Raipur sentenced me along with two others to rigorous life imprisonment for ‘sedition’, under an outdated colonial-era law that was formulated by our Imperial masters in the nineteenth century , and used for long against fighters for India’s freedom from British rule.

Today, as I stand before you here in Gwangju I have been freed on bail by the Supreme Court of India which in a hearing on 15 April has said clearly that the law on sedition has been wrongly applied in my case and there is no evidence at all for such a charge. My appeal to overturn the conviction and sentence of life imprisonment continues at the Chhattisgarh High Court and I am determined to fight the case till it is finally established that my actions were always in the interest of justice with equity, and were never seditious in nature.

What I have said so far about Chhattisgarh, applies today to all of India. India, the country I belong to, is an ancient and great nation. It is a land of stupendous diversity of people, cultures, languages and ethnicities. It is a land that gave rise to at least four major religions of the world Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism and to numerous great philosophers, mathematicians, physicians and social revolutionaries.

Today, India is considered around the world as a rapidly developing country posting economic growth rates of around 8-9 percent consistently over the last several years. Along with China, which is much further ahead,India is seen as a powerhouse of the global economy in the decades to come and already it is home to a very large number of dollar billionaires, perhaps the largest such number in Asia.

In our own times as we look around this vast and populated country though the picture that one sees is not as rosy as it is made out to be. India is also home to the world’s largest number of people living in absolute poverty. In 2007 a study on the unorganized sector in India, based on government data for the period between 1993-94 and 2004-05, found that an overwhelming 836 million people in India live on a per capita consumption of less than Rs 20 or O.50 US cents a day1).

In 2010 a UNDP/Oxford University study, using a new Multi-dimensional Poverty Index (MPI), said that eight Indian provinces alone have more poor than 26 African nations put together.The report said that acute poverty prevails in Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal which together account for 421 million people, 11 million more “MPI poor” than in the 26 poorest African countries.

As a physician and a pediatrician in particular what concerns me is that such absolute poverty among such large numbers of people really translates into a major health disaster the proportions of which can only be called genocidal. I have a specific technical reason for using the word genocide and do not wield it in a rhetorical manner.
The Indian National Nutrition Monitoring Bureau (NNMB) tells us that over 33% of the adult population of India has a Body Mass Index of less than 18.5, and can be considered as suffering from chronic under nutrition. If we disaggregate the data, we find that over 50% of the scheduled tribes (Adivasis), and over 60% of the scheduled castes (dalits) have a BMI below 18.5.

The WHO says that any community with more than 40% of its members with a BMI below 18.5 may be regarded as being in a state of famine. By this criterion there are various subsets of the population of India-the scheduled tribes, scheduled castes, – which may be regarded as being permanently in a state of famine.

So it is not any general population that is suffering the consequences of poverty-induced malnutrition but specific ethnic groups and hence my use of the term ‘genocide’ as per the United Nations definition. All this is, of course, in addition to the mundane reality, to which we have become inured, of 43% of children under 5 in India being malnourished by weight for age criteria. India has the world’s largest number of malnourished children and according to the UNICEF over 2 million Indian children die every year due to malnutrition related diseases.

I want to bring to your and indeed the attention of the world that it is precisely this section of the population, that is stricken by famine, that is today the principal target of a widespread policy of expropriation of natural and common property resources, in a concerted and often militarized programme run by the Indian state.

For a long time, despite their cash poverty, the Adivasis of central India, living in extreme poverty, nevertheless survived through their access to common property resources- the forests, the rivers, and land- all of which are now under a renewed threat of sequestration and privatization as global finance capital embarks on its latest phase of expansion. The doctrine of eminent domain vests ultimate ownership of all land and natural resources in the state. Under cover of eminent domain, vast tracts of land, forest and water reserves are being handed over to the Indian affiliates of international finance capital.

Land acquired from ordinary people in Chhattisgarh, as also in other parts of India, has been handed over to the industrial houses for the purpose of mining or building large steel and power plants. With a few honourable exceptions, the personnel articulating the agency of state power have almost uniformly possessed a colonial mindset. It is not as if the people have not resisted. The forced takeover of indigenous land is being met with resistance that is multi hued , yet the state has chosen to brand it under the single category of Maoist, and has met it with brutality and human rights violations.The social fabric in many of these regions is today polarized beyond immediate rectification, and the deep fissures in our society will take time to heal

Ladies and Gentlemen, on this solemn occasion,I would like to make an appeal to all of you. In the times we live while oppression is most acutely manifested in remote and local places like Bastar district of Chhattisgarh the truth is that the forces behind such oppression are often global in nature. It is well recognized now that the tsunami-like flow of capital around the world is a source of tremendous tragedy for many communities around the world which do not fit into the ideologically straitjacketed confines of the ‘market economy’. Countries like South Korea that have suffered the ravages of colonialism in the past and risen from the ashes of the Second World War to become industrially and economically leading nations of the world have a special responsibility today. It is the responsibility of ensuring that they do not do the kind of violence and exploitation to the people of the Third World what they themselves were subjected to in the past by others.

I want to bring up the specific case of the South Korean steel giant POSCO which has embarked on a USD 12 billion dollar project in the Indian state of Orissa, which at USD 12 billion to mine iron ore, build a port and a mega-steel plant. Indian activists have pointed out repeatedly that from a national point of view the MoU signed by the Orissa government with POSCO to give it the rights to mine over 600 million tonnes of high grade iron are is a scam of immense proportions. The royalty that POSCO will pay for the iron ore is around Rs. 24 per tonne whereas the selling price in the international market is around Rs. 5000 today. Besides all this POSCO and its investors from around the world are to be illegally given nearly 5000 acres of land that was originally forest land and cannot be used for any other purpose under Indian law without the consent of forest dwelling people.

For more than five years now the POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samity (PPSS), a local people’s movement in Jagatsingpur district, has been bravely resisting the POSCO project which threatens the livelihood of thousands of agriculturists, workers and small businesses in the area besides devastating the local environment and ecology. Over 30,000 people, mostly farmers and fisherfolk are expected to be displaced.

Even as we speak here today large contingents of the Orissa police are moving into the villages settled on the targeted land for the POSCO project to uproot local communities using brute force. I would like to appeal to the South Korean people and the people of Gwangju in particular to strongly oppose the POSCO project in solidarity with the brave farmers and fishermen of Jagatsingpur. POSCO should withdraw its investment in this project immediately and an inquiry launched in both South Korea and India into the circumstances under which such a project was considered and cleared.

The spirit of the Gwangju Prize for Human Rights calls upon all of us to continue to oppose violations of human rights in every form, wherever it occurs and whatsoever the costs of such opposition. We remain committed to Peace, but realize that there cannot be any peace without equity and social justice.I am confident that my appeal to you will be heard and responded to and the solidarity of the South Korean people will forever remain with the oppressed people of India and other parts of Asia and the world.

Thank you

The Special Prize Laureate’s Speech

Daniela Kitain – Israel (The Parents Circle Families Forum)

Dear Korean Friends and participants from all over the world,
I am most honored to be here with you all and to recieve together with my dear friend Mazen Faraj, the 2011 Gwangju Prize for Human Rights Award on behalf of the PCFF.

My name is Daniela Kitain, I am Israeli and Jewish. This is my first time in Korea and I am amazed by the country and by the people. It is so different from my world and yet, I am reminded all the time of how much we are also the same.
I am married and in my life had the great privilage of bringing to this world 4 beautiful children – 3 boys and a girl. I say beautiful not only because I am a biased mother, but because I think all humans are so, basically beautiful, as we are born, all of us are beautiful creatures.

14 years ago my beautiful boy Tom, my first born, was killed during his compulsary service in the Israeli army. He was killed exactly 1 month before his 21 birthday. He was travelling by helicopter with 72 other soldiers to their post in South Lebanon. There were 2 helicopters on this trip and they clashed with each other. Both vehicles were crashed and everyone on them was killed.

My Tom was killed in this accident, all his dreams and plans, his thoughts and aspirations, his smile and vitality were gone forever in one awful moment. The world of our family and of many others was crashed that night together with the 2 helicopters. Boaz, my spouce and me, the parents, we lost our beloved son, our children lost their big brother for ever. It seemed that nothing can be good in the world anymore, like there is no point going on living.

2 years later I was invited to join this wonderful group of people that I am representing here today – the Parents Circle-Families Forum, a peace group of Israelis andPalestinians, all of us lost our loved ones in the on-going conflict in our region. Being in this group I was reminded again that I am not only a bereaved mother but also a person with ideas and views. I could connect again to my hopes for a better future, for a world that is more just and that is learning to solve conflicts in a fruitful way. In the PCFF, we carry the message in the name of our personal pain, saying that the conflict between our nations, between Israelis and Palestinians, should be solved differently, that we should find ways to bring justice, end the Israeli occupation and reconcile with each other. We call our leaders to take the couragous steps needed in order to compromise, move on from the vicious circle of killing each other towards a mutual future.
I see this message as a revolutionary message, appropriate not only to our conflict but to all places in the world. Through our humble organization, with a few hundreds of members, we wish to give inspiration to the world at large, to see the other, the enemy, as people who have the same needs as we do for freedom and justice, to understand that the pain of losing a beloved one is the same pain for all of us, to make room for the difficult way of conflict resolution, to use our abilities to understand and to compromise, not only our abilities to plan stronger tools of destruction.

Looking at my people, the Jewish people, I can understand the need for security for my people who have suffered for so many years because they were not free and independent. It is hard for me to see that it is my people that today are holding the others – the Palestinians – as occupied people with no basic freedom or human rights. In the PCFF we Israelis and Palestinians together, in a non-violent way, work to change this situation and bring freedom to the occupied and the occupier.

Standing here today I am connected to the loss of the Korean people, who have also stood up for their rights holding a message of non-violence struggle and were killed for expressing their opinions, for wanting to be free and to fulfill their human rights.

It is a great honor that the The May 18 Memorial Foundation have found us, the PCFF worthy to receive the human rights award. This connection between human struggles all over the worldis in itself a token of brotherhood and sisterhood between all of us human beings. It is empowering our faith in a better future. Together, with efforts such as yours and ours and others all over the world, we must go on the long journey for freedom, justice and peace, while being mindful all the time that the journey itself represents these same values of freedom, justice and peace, a way of non-violence and free dialogue.

May we all succeed in this challange – let it be!

The Special Prize Laureate’s Speech

Mazen Faraj – Palestine (The Parents Circle Families Forum)

would like thank our host in the name of the 600 members of the Palestinian-Israeli Bereaved Parents Circle-Families Forum, my Israeli partner Daniela Kitain, and myself for honoring us with this very important prize.

My name is Mazen Faraj, I was born and I live in Al-Deheishe refugee camp in Bethlehem. Our story and that of our neighbors start with “Al-Naqba,” the Palestinian catastrophe in 1948. My father at that time was six years old, and his family had to flee from our village Ras Abu Amar to the West Bank. They were part of 700,000 refugees that were forced to leave their homes and found themselves in refugee camps throughout the West Bank, Gaza and other Arab countries hoping to return to their homes after the war, which did not happen to this today.

I was born and raised in a society that lacks the basic conditions every human deserves to have in order to live with dignity. This is not fantasy I am revealing you my life story in Al-Dehaishe refugee camp. The life of a refugee family who found themselves after the Naqba in 1948 living under inhuman conditions, conditions which no one believed can get worse. However, things did get worse, and in the Naksa (Calamity) of 1967 the West Bank and Gaza came under Israeli occupation, thus, forcing more Palestinians into refugee, taking land, and confiscating the most basic human rights of Palestinians. A 7 year old child, I began to ask why we live under these inhuman conditions. What is behind all the pain and suffering which we endure daily? What is the reason for us not having water most of the summer, or electricity in the winter? Why we have to be more than eighty pupils in each classroom in school? And why don’t we have a playground to spend the joyful time of our childhood instead of spending it on the streets? Why are we deprived of the natural rights which every human in this world has the right to enjoy? Those are called human rights which are so distant from the Palestinian people. The Israeli occupation prohibited everything, prohibited thinking, saying that you are a Palestinian, to dream, travel, learning, and the most important thing to master our decisions and choices like all the people in the world. Living under occupation means that another power controls the destiny of your life and dreams.

Of course, like every human you have to do something against this unjust regime. Thus, I started to participate with my friends in school in demonstrations against the Israeli army which was always present in our camp. I was imprisoned by the Israeli Army in an age under 15 years. Not because I killed someone or stole from someone, my charge was that I tried to raise a loud my voice and demand my freedom and human rights, so that I can live a normal life like the rest of humankind.
It was not the first and last time to be in prison.In total, I spent in prison more than three and a half years.lost my school education, or to be more accurate, I lost my life, let alone the psychological impact this experience had on me.

Then the most difficult and traumatic experience in my life arrived, that was the murder of my 62 year old father as walking back with bags of grocery to our home. The Israeli soldiers shoot him, and immediately he fell dead. When we heard of this tried to go to the hospital, but the Israeli army prevented us and said that we were under curfew. Imagine not being able to see your father one last time and to be prevented from giving him the farewell.
After that a new journey of pain and suffering began, and you start to think what is next, what can I do, and where to put my pain and suffering, how to deal with it and control it?

Indeed, many people find in revenge a way of expressing themselves, but never did I think of that. Not because I feared Jews or loved them, only because I believe in the justice of my cause and that violence can only bring violence, and that our cause as Palestinian people is a cause of freedom and legitimate rights.
Indeed, all of those internal struggles began with me and I had to find a space for expressing myself and to work on put an end to my peoples and my suffering.

After a long time of having been in this struggle, I found myself in a meeting with bereaved Israeli families, I found there understanding for my human rights, and I began to work on creating a human message, which says that it is not our destiny to live in this inhuman condition for the rest of our lives. We must stop for while and think, learn from the past, or else this darkness will continue to surround us. Thus, this is our message in the Palestinian-Israeli bereaved Families Forum. Today we stand side by side, with one voice, and one message.

I know it is strange for people to see one message and one voice especially the voice of those who paid the highest price in this conflict instead of going for the path of revenge we choose the path of reconciliation.

Press Release
22 April 2011
2011 Gwangju Prize For Human Right, Binayak Sen of India
2011 Gwangju Prize For Human Rights Special Award, The Parents Circle – Families Forum Israeli Palestinian Bereaved Families For Peace
The winner of the 2011 Gwangju Prize For Human Rights was announced this week on Thursday 21st April by the 2011 Prize Committee as Binayak Sen of India. The 2011 Gwangju Prize for Human Rights this year received 32 nominations from several countries for South Korea’s most prestigious human rights prize which carries an award of 50,000US dollars and is awarded each May 18 on the anniversary of the May 1980 Gwangju Democratic Uprising to a person or organization who has made significant contributions in the field of human rights and democracy, carrying on the spirit of the May 1980 Gwangju Democratic Uprising, or who has been working for the peaceful reunification of the Korean peninsula.
This year’s nominees included several strong nominations for the 2011 prize with the Prize Committee and The May 18 Memorial Foundation making this year’s decision in the context of the recent democratic uprisings taking place across North Africa and the Arab countries, the ‘Arab Spring’, which the Foundation notes are very similar to the events which took place in Gwangju in May 1980 and across South Korea during the 1980s. During the 20th Century the people of South Korea struggled to free themselves from a series of brutal and dictatorial military regimes and the Foundation notes with sadness that some authoritarian governments in North Africa and the Arab countries have chosen, as did the Chun Doo Hwan military regime in 1980, to respond to their citizens’ peaceful demonstrations and demands for democracy by using excessive military force and repression resulting in many wounded and murdered protesters and in some cases an escalation of violence into open war.
Such actions which violate internationally recognized human rights show all too clearly the illegitimacy of these human rights violating regimes which without having the support of the people as expressed through genuine peaceful and democratic means will ultimately fall, just as the Chun Doo Hwan regime eventually did in 1987. In East Asia, South-East Asia, Central Asia and South Asian countries also, authoritarian regimes across the Asian region continue to use military means as well as spurious legal means to suppress people’s legitimate dissent and the work of individuals and organizations fighting these corrupt and dictatorial governments.
The 2011 Gwangju Prize for Human Rights and 2011 Gwangju Prize for Human Rights Special Award (awarded for the first time) were therefore awarded to an individual and an organization who have each made a significant contribution to the ongoing international struggle for justice, human rights and genuine democracy. They are Binayak Sen of India, winner of the 2011 Gwangju Prize For Human Rights and The Parents Circle – Families Forum Israeli Palestinian Bereaved Families For Peace winners of the 2011 Gwangju Prize for Human Rights Special Award. The Prize Committee official announcement of the award follows below. This year’s Gwangju Prize For Human Rights Ceremony will take place on May 18 marking the 31st anniversary of the 1980 Gwangju Democratic Uprising.
On the occasion of the awarding of the 2011 Gwangju Prize For Human Rights, the Foundation also notes that several of the Gwangju Prize laureates such as Min Ko Naing of Burma and Irom Sharmila Chanu of Manipur, India remain imprisoned as prisoners of conscience and continue to be subjected to unjust treatment in their home countries and we repeat our call for their swift release in 2011 as Gwangju Prize laureate Daw Aung San Suu Kyi was released in 2010. The Foundation is particularly concerned about the denial by the military regime in Burma of urgently needed medical care for 2009 Gwangju Prize laureate Min Ko Naing and for the health of 2007 co-laureate Ms Irom Sharmila Chanu who is being forcibly nose-fed inside security ward of JNIMS as she carries out her decade long hunger strike against the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act in Manipur, India.
The May 18 Memorial Foundation

One Response to “Dr. Binayak Sen, Human Rights Prize Winner speech, and Special Prize Winner Speeches”
  1. koreamaria says:

    Thanks for sharing this here.

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