Asma Jahangir awarded UN prize for promoting human rights

Asma Jahangir has been named as this year’s winner of the Bilbao Prize.

Updated: Nov 18, 2010, 14:32 PM IST

New York: Pakistan’s noted human rights activist, Asma Jahangir, has been named as this year’s winner of the Bilbao Prize- a UN award that recognises “outstanding individual contribution to promoting the culture of human rights around the world”.

“The Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), Irina Bokova, nominated Ms Jahangir as laureate of this year’s Bilbao Prize for the Promotion of a Culture of Human Rights in recognition of her work in Pakistan’s Supreme Court where she championed the rights of religious minorities, women and children,” a UN press release said.

Jahangir is the president of the Supreme Court Bar Association of Pakistan, a founding member of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, and is internationally known for her roles as the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief, and the UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions.

According to the press release, “Announcing Ms Jahangir as the winner of the prize Tuesday as the UN marked the International Day for Tolerance is intended honour her commitment and important contribution to fostering inter-religious and inter-cultural dialogue, tolerance, mutual understanding and cooperation for peace”, Paris-based UNESCO said.

The award carries a cash reward of USD 25,000, a diploma and a bronze trophy, which will be presented to her at a ceremony at Bilbao in Spain on December 10, which is observed globally as Human Rights Day.

The UNESCO/Bilbao Prize is given out every two years and is funded by a donation from the Spanish city, the UN press release said, informing that it succeeded the UNESCO Prize for Human Rights Education that was set up 30 years ago, and the prize was first awarded to Stéphane Hessel, a French human rights advocate, in 2008.