Thursday, November 17, 2011

Human Rights: UN honours Afghan women’s rights campaigner and a Palestinian peace activist

UN - An Afghan women’s rights campaigner and a Palestinian peace activist are the winners of a United Nations award recognizing their outstanding contributions to the promotion of tolerance and non-violence, the UN announced today.

Anarkali Honaryar, defender of the rights of women and minority groups in Afghanistan, and Palestinian activist Khaled Abu Awwad will receive the UN Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Madanjeet Singh Prize for the Promotion of Tolerance and Non-Violence, and will be honoured in a special ceremony on 9 December at the agency’s headquarters in Paris.

Ms. Honaryar will be honoured for her work helping women who suffer from domestic abuse, forced marriages and gender discrimination and for her commitment to promote the ideals of human dignity, human rights, mutual respect and tolerance in her country. Last year she became the first non-Muslim woman to become a member of the Afghan Parliament’s lower house.

Mr. Awwad will receive recognition for his work as a peace activist and leader in the reconciliation process between Palestinians and Israelis. He heads the Palestinian Branch of the Parents Circle Families Forum, an organization of Palestinians and Israelis who have lost immediate family members in the conflict, and is one of the founders of AI-Tariq (The Way), a Palestinian institution for development and democracy.

According to a news release issued by UNESCO, the two laureates, who were selected by an international jury, will receive a $100,000 award, to be split equally between them.

The UNESCO-Madanjeet Singh Prize is awarded every two years and was created in 1995 on the occasion of the 125th anniversary of the birth of Mahatma Gandhi, with the support of the Indian writer and diplomat Madanjeet Singh.