2022 Award - Committee of Relatives of the Detained-Disappeared of Honduras, COFADEH
The Committee of Relatives of the Detained and Disappeared in Honduras (COFADEH) is a human rights organization created in 1982 by relatives of the disappeared.
During the second half of the 20th century, Honduras had a history of various coups. In 1981 a civilian government was elected, but human rights violations continued. The Battalion 3-16 military unit carried out arbitrary arrests, torture and assassinations of political opponents of the government. Amnesty International estimated that at least 184 people were disappeared between 1980 and 1992 in Honduras, at the hands of the Honduran army.
COFADEH was born as an organization of relatives that demanded the appearance alive of the disappeared detained in 1981. Later it expanded its objectives to fight against impunity, and in pursuit of justice, to other human rights violations.
The COFADEH organization played an important role in the dissolution of the Honduran Department of National Investigations, the repeal of compulsory military service, and the release of the country's last political prisoners in 1992.
Currently, it is an organization with national and international projection, whose fundamental purpose is to fight against the different forms of impunity, as well as to vindicate the memory of the victims of human rights violations, keeping the crime of forced disappearance valid in the collective memory. and thus prevent silence from becoming another accomplice of those responsible.
2021 Award - Mutual Support Group –GAM – Guatemala www.grupodeapoyomutuo.org.gt
"The Mutual Support Group -GAM- is an organization founded by relatives of the victims of forced disappearance in Guatemala during the internal armed conflict. On June 4, 1984, after permanently meeting in hospitals, prisons and police stations, a group of women and men decide to found the Mutual Support Group -GAM-, for the appearance of their relatives and loved ones alive.
This would be the first public appearance of the group, which would mark a key event for the history, not only of the GAM, but of the entire country, due to the number of activities that, in favor of justice and historical memory, the organization would undertake throughout its 38 years of existence."
*In 2018 and 2019 the Prize was not awarded by decision of the National Government authorities of that period.
2020 Award - FondationDevoir de Mémoire Haiti www.devoirdememoire.ht
In 2013, was created the “Fondation Devoir de Memoire” (Duty of Memory Foundation), which was a pioneer in the valorization of human rights and the celebration of memory as a fundamental factor in knowing the truth in Haiti. Various commemorative events, gathering of historical testimonies, advocacy missions in local and international organizations and mainly its constant work with schools and with young people are the characteristics that make Devoir de Memoire the most respected memory organization in the country.
Devoir de Memoire is also the only organization founded by survivors and relatives of the victims of the Duvalier dictatorship (1957-1986) that is dedicated to rescuing historical memory and defending the rights of the victims. It undoubtedly has the merit of having also been the first to publicly promote the dissemination of historical testimonies in Haiti.
Devoir de Memoire is part, along with more than 80 memory sites from thirteen countries in our region, of the Network of Latin American and Caribbean Sites of Memory (RESLAC) that work on the recovery and construction of collective memories about serious violations of human rights and resistance, which occurred in the recent past, in periods of State terrorism, internal armed conflict and high levels of impunity, with the aim of promoting democracy and guarantees of non-repetition.
In 2017*, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs gave the Award to the Venezuelan Program for Education and Action on Human Rights (PROVEA).
The Program was created in 1988 as an independent NGO devoted to analyzing the human rights scenario, with the aim of promoting and defending human rights and, particularly, economic, social and cultural rights. PROVEA works on promoting access to education by low-income sectors, providing legal assistance to people whose rights are violated, and investigating into and documenting abuses of power and violations of rights, in collaboration with other social and popular organizations and movements.
*The award ceremony took place on 15 March 2018.
2016 Award - Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) www.bringbackourgirls.ng
In 2016, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs recognized Bring Back Our Girls for its work with victims of terrorism in Nigeria. BBOG is a civil society, non-profit organization with no political, religious or ethnic affiliations, which receives no external funding. It was created as a civil society platform to urge the Nigerian government to rescue and bring back alive a group of schoolgirls kidnapped in Chibok by a terrorist organization.
On 14 April 2014, 276 schoolgirls were abducted from a girls’ school in Chibok, Nigeria, and turned into slaves. The terrorist group Boko Haram claimed responsibility for the mass abduction. At the time the Award was given, 107 of the 276 kidnapped and enslaved girls had been rescued, 57 girls had managed to escape and 112 girls were still missing. These girls are among the more than 2000 women and girls abducted in 2014-2015.
BBOG advocates for the effective search and rescue of all the abducted girls; condemns the mass violations of human rights perpetrated in north-eastern Nigeria by insurgent groups; demands that authorities provide protection against such violations, and ensure protection and relocation of internally displaced persons; takes action towards ending abductions and mass killings by terrorist groups; and works towards fostering a comprehensive development of the hardest-hit and most vulnerable regions in order to prevent them from becoming suitable scenarios for the rise of new insurgent groups.
2015 Award – Friar Miguel Concha Malo
In 2015, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs bestowed the Award on Mr. Miguel Concha Malo, a Catholic priest of the Dominican Order, for his efforts to foster a culture of respect for human rights in Mexico for almost four decades. His work focuses on supporting social movements and groups from his position as an academic, faculty member, journalist and member of the clergy, in the defence and promotion of the human rights of vulnerable people and populations. He is the General Director of the “Fray Francisco de Vitoria OP” Human Rights Centre, which he cofounded in 1984.
During the 70s and 80s, friar Concha Malo was a keen advocate for the defence of Central American refugees and for welcoming into Mexico exiled people fleeing military dictatorships in South America. These experiences shaped his work in favour of justice, peace and human rights in Mexico and the region. He is a member of several national and international human rights organizations and institutions.
As a faculty member of Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) for 37 years, he has worked alongside other professors and students on the development of human rights, ethics and politics in Latin America. He founded the journal La Noranda in 1984 and, ever since then, he has been writing articles on a weekly basis. He also writes for Contralínea, a research journal. His journalistic work stands out for being based on a thorough, well-documented and intimate analysis of the fight for human rights.
2014 Award – National Truth Commission (CNV) www.cnv.gov.br
In 2014, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs gave the award to the National Truth Commission (CNV). The CNV was created on the initiative of the President of the Federative Republic of Brazil through a national law enacted in 2011 with the aim of investigating human rights violations committed during the 1946-1988 period, which includes the last military dictatorship to have ruled Brazil (1964-1985).
The CNV was made up of members having renowned competence and whose ethical conduct was beyond reproach, identified with the defence of democracy, constitutional institutions and respect for human rights.
Among the tasks assigned by the law creating it, the Commission was charged with shedding light on cases of torture, death, enforced disappearance, and concealment of corpses, as well as with finding those responsible for such crimes, even if committed abroad.
In its two years and 7 months of existence, the CNV searched and examined documents, recorded over one million testimonies, visited repression centres, and held dozens of public hearings all over the country, through which it interacted with society to find the truth and restore memory.
On 10 December 2014, the CNV submitted its Final Report to Brazil´s former President Dilma Rousseff. The Report is divided into three volumes: the first volume describes the activities carried out by the CNV; the second one deals with structures, chains of command, methods and dynamics of serious human rights violations; and the last volume contains findings and recommendations.
This work led the CNV to conclude that the serious human rights violations that took place in the period covered by the report resulted from widespread and systematic action on the part of the State, thus amounting to crimes against humanity.
2013 Award – Mary Aileen Diez Bacalso – Secretary-General of the Asian Federation against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD) www.afad-online.org
In 2013, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs gave the Mignone Award to Mary Aileen Diez Bacalso for her work and struggle against involuntary disappearances in the Philippines and the Asian region. Ms. Diez Bacalso is a lawyer and a key player in the hard task of promoting enforcement of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance in the Asian continent. She started working in the Philippines with relatives of victims of enforced disappearance. Later, in association with groups of relatives of disappeared persons in other countries of the region, Ms. Diez Bacalso fostered the creation of the Asian Federation against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD), where she has served as Secretary-General. As an expert in the field in Asia, she works together with the Latin American Federation of Associations of Relatives of the Detained-Disappeared (FEDEFAM).
2012 Award – Komisi untuk orang hilang & korban Tindak Kekerasan (Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violence) www.kontras.org
In 2012, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs gave the award to the Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violence, an organization founded in Indonesia in 1998. KontraS was created in the context of a regional financial crisis amidst cracks in the Indonesian de facto government, through the grouping of several human rights organizations. KontraS epitomizes the Indonesian human rights movement. It is based in Jakarta, and has representatives across the archipelago. This territorial presence enables it to work in regions where human rights issues demand constant attention, such as Aceh and Papua.
The KontraS Commission works to raise awareness of local situations involving religious freedoms, impunity, protection of the rights of children, women, people with disabilities and migrant workers, as well as the recommendations on these issues made by entities set up by treaties to which Indonesia is a party. KontraS is a member of the Human Rights Working Group (HRWG), the International NGO Forum on Indonesian Development (INFID), the Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD), FORUM-ASIA, and the Anti-Death Penalty Asia Network (ADPAN); it participates in other regional and international networks, and it is a strategic partner of Amnesty International.
In the context of the 2012 Emilio F. Mignone Award, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs also recognized the work of the following organizations:
Human Rights Institute of the Central American University “José Simeón Cañas” (IDHUCA) www.uca.edu.sv/publica/idhuca/
Ever since its foundation, the main purpose of the Human Rights Institute of the Central American University “José Simeón Cañas” in San Salvador has been to contribute to guaranteeing respect for human rights through public institutions. IDHUCA has played a key role in creating and consolidating the two permanent institutions in charge of guaranteeing respect for human rights: the National Civilian Police (PNC) and the Office of the Human Rights Ombudsperson (PDDH). In addition, the Institute is focused on educational and training activities, through which it trains government officials in the defence of and respect for human rights, and provides legal assistance to individuals requiring it through IDHUCA’s Legal Aid Office.
Refugees International www.refugeesinternational.org
Based in the United States, Refugees International is a leading organization that advocates for the rights of refugees and displaced people, by providing assistance and protection, and engaging in processes for finding solutions to displacement crises. Refugees International was founded in 1979 as a civil society movement to protect Indochinese refugees. Since then, it has expanded to all regions around the world, taking actions in refugee crises in Asia, Central America and Africa. It does not accept any government or UN funding so as to be completely independent.
2011 Award – International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (IRCT) http://www.irct.org/
In 2011, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs recognized the efforts of the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims, a network of healthcare professional organizations that provides assistance to victims of torture and serious human rights violations, and works for the prevention of torture worldwide. The IRCT is based in Denmark.
In 1973, as a result of an Amnesty International campaign to support torture victims in Chile, efforts were made to provide a healthcare-based response to the consequences of torture. At the time, few studies had been conducted on torture methods and their physical and psychological consequences. In parallel to the work of healthcare professionals in Chile, Sweden and Greece, in 1974 four medical doctors in Denmark began to work on and research these issues. Over time, they put together a worldwide network of professionals. In addition to documenting cases of torture for potential legal proceedings, they started to identify torture rehabilitation methods.
In 1978, the first international working group was created to address the rehabilitation of torture victims. In 1982, Dr. Inge Genefke founded the Rehabilitation and Research Centre for Torture Victims (RCT) in Copenhagen, Denmark. In response to a growing need for global support to engage in the rehabilitation of torture victims, the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (IRCT) was founded in 1985, initially as the international arm of the RCT, and, since 1997, as an independent international organization.
The IRCT is an organization that assembles a large network of civil society organizations devoted to rehabilitation from and prevention of torture. It is comprised of approximately 150 independent organizations from 73 countries. The work is led by member organizations.
At the time of this award, the network had 146 rehabilitation centres and programmes around the world, which rendered it a truly international initiative against torture and in support of victims. The rehabilitation centres and work programmes are based on each society and take into account the various national and local contexts, as well as the relevant goals in each particular case, using a number of different methods to tackle the consequences of torture on individuals, families and communities. The IRCT is doing outstanding work in the field of rehabilitation of torture victims, and promotes access to justice by them, thereby contributing to the prevention of this crime at a global level.
2010 Award – Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights www.zlhr.org.zw
In 2010, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs gave the Award to Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, an organization established in 1996 by members of the Law Society of Zimbabwe in response to the need to form an association of lawyers specialized in human rights.
ZLHR is a not-for-profit human rights organization whose core objective is to foster a culture of human rights in Zimbabwe as well as encourage the growth and strengthening of human rights at all levels of Zimbabwean society through enforcement of the law. ZLHR is committed to upholding respect for the rule of law and the proper administration of justice; free and fair elections; the free flow of information; and the protection of constitutional rights and freedoms in Zimbabwe and in the region. These values are deemed essential in the performance of its duties. ZLHR, with offices in Harare, Mutuare and Bulawayo, aims to provide legal services, human rights training, and research, among other activities.
2009 Award - Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) www.wola.org
In 2009, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs gave the award to the Washington Office on Latin America, an organization whose goal is to promote human rights, democracy and social and economic justice in Latin America and the Caribbean. Founded in 1974 by a coalition of religious and civic leaders, WOLA works closely with civil society organizations and government officials throughout the Americas. It facilitates dialogue between governmental and non-governmental actors, monitors the impact of the policies adopted by the US government and international organizations, and promotes alternatives through research, reporting, education, training, and political advocacy.
2008 Award – Colombian Commission of Jurists (CCJ) www.coljuristas.org
In 2008, the Foreign Ministry bestowed the Award on the Colombian Commission of Jurists, a civil society organization that began operating in 1988. The CCJ has advisory status within the United Nations and is an affiliate of the International Commission of Jurists of Geneva and the Andean Commission of Jurists.
One of the main goals of the CCJ is to increase lawful cooperation within the International Community with a view to assuming and fulfilling international obligations in the field of Human Rights and humanitarian law in Colombia. It works tirelessly to influence the adoption, implementation and monitoring of State policies, in line with international and constitutional Human Rights obligations. It also seeks to ensure that the Colombian people will have a better understanding of, and greater sensitivity to, Human Rights and humanitarian law as legal standards.
The CCJ is an organization that constantly defends the enforcement of Human Rights by filing legal actions, defending human rights leaders, investigating, and disseminating information on the promotion and protection of human rights and the applicable legal rules and instruments.
2007 Award – Association of Relatives of Detainees, Disappeared Persons and Martyrs for National Liberation of Bolivia (ASOFAMD) www.asofamdbolivia.org
In 2007, Foreign Minister Jorge Taiana gave the Award to ASOFAMD, a founding member of the Latin American Federation of Associations of Relatives of the Detained-Disappeared (FEDEFAM), devoted to fighting against enforced disappearances.
ASOFAMD primarily seeks to shed light on disappearances and arbitrary executions and the circumstances under which they took place; promote the prosecution of accessories before the fact, perpetrators or accessories after the fact; raising awareness across society about respect for Human Rights; and help the Bolivian people to regain its historical memory. ASOFAMD’s work led to the prosecution of former dictator García Meza, who was sentenced to 30 years in prison. Based on a suggestion by the Association, the crime of enforced disappearance was incorporated into the Bolivian Criminal Code.