The United Nations honoured three individuals and one organization for their outstanding contributions in the field of human rights granting them the 2018 United Nations Human Rights Prize, which has been given every five years since 1968.
In the award ceremony today (18 Dec) which also marks the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, UN chief António Guterres saluted all human rights defenders adding that they “give voice to the voiceless and shield the powerless against injustice.”
Guterres said human rights defenders often face danger in their work, including murder, disappearances, torture, arbitrary imprisonment and other attempts to silence them, yet they remain committed to shining a light on the dark corners of the globe, wherever human rights violations occur.
This year’s Prize was awarded to Rebeca Gyumi from Tanzania, an activist for education rights for girls; the late human rights lawyer Asma Jahangir from Pakistan; Joênia Wapichana, Brazil’s first indigenous woman lawyer; and Front Line Defenders from Ireland, working to protect human rights defenders at risk.
The awardees share this honorary prize with other notable defenders who have received it during the past 50 years, including Eleanor Roosevelt, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, Jimmy Carter, Malala Yusafzai and this year’s Nobel Peace Prize winners, Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad, as well as organizations such as Amnesty International and the International Committee of the Red Cross~UNIFEED