Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Nomination is Now Open for 2009 Gwangju Prize

“We feel vindicated that our struggle has borne some fruit and we expect that the democratic forces shall forever close the door to military intervention in the body politic by strengthening all the institutions of the state to perform the functions assigned to them under the Constitution. We feel that we have woken up the slumbering giant – the people of Pakistan- to take charge of its own destiny. Our movement does not end with the reinstatement of the deposed judges. It continues and is in fact a never ending journey during the course of which we shall continue to strive for an independent judiciary, for maintaining the supremacy of the Rule of Law, the Constitution and the establishment of civilian supremacy in running the affairs of the Pakistan. And we shall continue to draw inspiration from the Gwangju Democratization Movement of May 1980”.

Those were the concluding statements of Mr. Muneer Malik’s valedictory speech when he received his 2008 Gwangju Prize for Human Rights Award. The 2008 Gwangju Prize for Human Rights Committee chose Mr. Malik for his fight against military rule in Pakistan. His struggle for the restoration of democracy and human rights is laudable. The award bestowed on him is a message of encouragement to all the citizens, human rights activists and lawyers in Pakistan, who are fighting all together with Muneer A. Malik.

Now, on its 10th year, the Gwangju Prize for Human Rights is open for nomination. Since its inception, this prestigious award has been given to 10 individuals and a Korean organization. In 2006 and 2007 saw co-winners receiving the award. Among the winners include Xanana Gusmao (Timor Leste), Daw Aung San Suu Kyii (Burma), Wardah Hafidz (Indonesia), Malalai Joya (Afghanistan) and Irom Sharmila (India).

For 2009, the prize at stake is 50 Million Korean Won (KRW 50,000,000.00), a gold medal and a certificate. The winner will be invited to grace the Gwangju Prize for Human Rights Award Night on 18 May 2009, in Gwangju, Republic of Korea. This yearly award is sponsored by the May 18 Memorial Foundation.

The Gwangju Prize for Human Rights was established to celebrate the spirit of May 18 Gwangju Democratic 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. It is hoped that through this award the spirit and message of 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.
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.

Deadline for submission of application form is 20 March 2009.

Please follow this link if interested to nominate (form is available from this link):

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Irom Sharmila Video

Irom Sharmila is a young woman of Manipur who has been on a fast-to-death for nearly 7 years now. She has been demanding the removal of a brutal law from her land. Manipur is a north-east Indian state (bordering Myanmar), riven for decades by insurgency and armed separatist movements. The Government of India has attempted to control the situation militarily, granting drastic powers to the security forces. The Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act enforced in the region lets people be arrested, shot and even killed - on suspicion alone. But Sharmila is willing to stake everything -- even her life -- to restore justice and dignity to her people.