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Gwangju Prize for Human Rights 2007
- Press Release -


New Delhi, May 7, 2007

It is tenth anniversary of Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, under Human Rights Council. UN General Assembly Reaffirming the importance of the observance of the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations for the promotion and protection of all human rights and fundamental freedoms for all persons in all countries of the world.

By a cknowledging this UN General Assembly, stressed that all members of the international community shall fulfill, jointly and separately, their solemn obligation to promote and encourage respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction of any kind, including distinctions based on race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status, to fulfill the charter.

Therefore, recognizing the work of Dr. Lenin Raghuvansi and Ms. Iron Sharmila who have been human rights defenders in their respective filled have been awarded the prestigious Gwangju Prize for Human Rights 2007 by the citizens of Gwangju.

The Gwangju Prize for Human Rights was established to celebrate the spirit of the May 18 Gwangju Uprising by recognizing both individuals, groups or institutions in Korea and abroad that have contributed in promoting and advancing human rights, democracy and peace in their work.

The prize is awarded by the citizens of Gwangju in the spirit of solidarity and gratitude from those whom they have received help in their struggle for democratization and search for truth. It is hoped that through this award the spirit and message of the May 18 will be immortalized in the hearts and mind of humankind.

The Gwangju Prize for Human Rights which is given yearly has the following aims:
1) to enhance the spirit of the May 18 Democratic Uprising by awarding individuals, groups or institutions in Korea and abroad on their contribution to improving human rights and peace throughout the world; and
2) to reward individuals, groups and institutions in Korea and/or abroad for promoting the goals of the May 18 Democratic Uprising as a movement toward unification and cooperation.

While addressing the press conference Dr Syada Hameed, Member of Planning Commission, stressed that the present 11 th five year plan has mainly focused equitable plan to North East region, dalits and minorities. Also she mentioned as long as task force presence continues in the North East there will be an obstacle in the development.

Ms. Anni Raja, General Secretary, National Federation of Indian Women, speaking at the conference, said that Sharmila's heroic struggle is a mark in women's movement. The amount of armed violence by the armed forces has pushed the women to come out to disrobe themselves in the public places.

Atrocities by the armed forces have been increasingly deployed in every pockets of the country to curb the human rights struggle where many innocents' people are victim of armed forces. By congratulating Dr. Lenin's struggle in UP towards right to food campaign, Ms. Raja stated that the campaign has spread from state to national level.

Dr. Lenin speaking on the occasion spoke on the importance of Gwanju Award for Human Rights was established to marked the spirit of the Gwanju uprising in May 18, 1980, over 200 people were killed where the people in that South Korean city rebelled against military rule and demanded establishment of democracy.

Ms. Preeti Verma spoke this award pave the way to create more opportunities to fight against inequalities not only in NE elsewhere also.

1. Irom Sharmila Chanu, An activist from Manipur, who is protesting the killing of 10 innocent people in Nov' 2000 by the Army in Malom, Manipur, has become synonymous with the agitation against the Armed Forced Special Powers Act (AFSPA). The Act gives draconian powers to the security forces and has repeatedly been used with brazen brutality in the Northeast and Jammu & Kashmir , the trauma and evil consequences brought about by the infamous Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act 1958 were recounted by the victims of the Act.

Currently she has been arrested and strictly detained under section 309 of Indian Penal Code (attempted to commit suicide) in the hospitals of Manipur and Delhi for the past six years. In fact it is 2375 days till today she is on her hunger strike. She has remained without solid food since then, demanding withdrawal from her state, of one of the most draconian laws in the statue books called Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA).

Irom Sharmila Chanu is one of the most extraordinary examples of civil courage from the conflict areas of North East India in recent years. She has become an important symbol in the struggle against oppression. She has refused to give up on her belief that not guns but peaceful protest will make the nation engage with the Northeast's plight.

In awarding the Gwangju Prize for Human Rights, 2007, Korea to Irom Sharmila Chanu is an honour for woman for her unflagging efforts and to show its support for the many people throughout the world who are striving to attain democracy, human rights and ethnic conciliation by peaceful means.

2. Dr. Lenin Raghavarshi is a social activist based in Beneras, Uttar Pradesh, working towards the elimination of caste system particularly on Dalit issues. He is also vociferously campaign against the torture and right to food.

Dr. Lenin Raghuvanshi and the People's Vigilance Committee On Human Rights, (PVCHR) led by him, have put up vehement resistance against the caste system through various social activities, including the supporting of torture victims in five Northern States with 50,000 members participating, and the operation of education centers in 45 provinces for the numerous number of local children.

This organization has developed into a nationwide and worldwide network composed of legal experts, journalists, human rights advocacy groups, etc. Also, its leader has brought hope back to the minds of more than 3,500 bonded child laborers and those suffering human rights infringements prompted by the caste system, especially to the untouchables

Many Thanks

Sunila Singh,
National Program Officer, Preventing Torture in India
E-mail suni_manas(at)hotmail(dot)com

Kshetrimayum Onil,
Coordinator, Reachout
Email onilrights(at)gmail(dot)com


Kshetrimayum Onil sent this announcement to e-pao.net. He can be contacted at onilrights(at)gmail(dot)com . This Press Release was webcasted on May 01st, 2007


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