Minister for Foreign Affairs congratulates winner of the Front Line Award for Human Rights Defenders at Risk and announces the provision of an Irish translation of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders
Micheál Martin TD, Minister for Foreign Affairs, today extended his congratulations to Dr Yuri Giovanni Melini, of Guatemala, winner of the 5th Front Line Award for Human Rights Defenders at risk. The Minister also announced that the Department of Foreign Affairs had arranged for the provision of an Irish translation of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders.
Front Line Award
The award, which was presented to Dr Melini in Dublin today, Friday 8 May, by the actor and human rights activist, Martin Sheen, honours his work on behalf of the rights of others in the face of great personal danger.
The Minister congratulated the Guatemalan winner of the award noting that “despite enduring terrible physical violence because of his advocacy, Dr Melini has continued to work tirelessly to protect the environment and uphold the rights of indigenous people.”
“I also welcome the well-deserved special award presented to John Ging. Throughout his career, John has worked tirelessly to protect innocent civilians threatened by armed conflict, whether in Rwanda, Democratic Republic of the Congo, or Lebanon. Most recently, he has provided outstanding service, in extremely difficult circumstances, to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency in Gaza. He is a committed humanitarian in every sense of the word and has served the cause of human rights protection with great distinction and commitment."
“Indeed the stories of all this year’s Front Line Award nominees serve to remind us of the great personal sacrifices made on a daily by human rights defenders all over the world in the selfless pursuit of human dignity and freedom for all.”
Minister Martin went on to commend Front Line for hosting the award, noting that “by organising such events, alongside its day-to-day advocacy, lobbying and direct practical assistance to human rights defenders, Front Line has become a hugely effective NGO and one we are very proud to have based in Ireland. I am pleased that the Department of Foreign Affairs has developed a close working relationship with Front Line since its inception in 2001, including through the provision of significant financial support by Irish Aid.”
Translation into Irish of UN Declaration
Today Minister Martin was also pleased to announce that the Department of Foreign Affairs’ Legal Division has just completed an Irish translation of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders. This was on foot of an undertaking given to the UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights Defenders, Ms. Margaret Sekkaggya, during a visit to Dublin earlier this year. The Minister was also keen to do something to mark the recent 10th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration concerning which he issued a special statement on 8 December last.
The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has been encouraging States to translate this key UN Declaration into as many national languages as possible. The Minister is arranging today for the translation to be conveyed to the Office of the High Commissioner so that it can be uploaded onto the Office’s website as the twenty sixth language into which the Declaration has been translated. The Minister is also arranging that the Declaration be available, as Gaeilge, on his own Department’s website with effect from today.
In commenting on this initiative the Minister said: “The cause of human rights defenders globally is an important aspect of Irish foreign policy and I am delighted we now have an Irish translation of this important UN Declaration which highlights the crucial role of human rights defenders in the promotion and protection of universal human rights.
Lean an t-Aire ar aghaidh “go bhfuil sé sásta aistriúchán i nGaeilge de “Dhearbhú ar Chearta agus Freagrachtaí Daoine Aonair, Grúpaí agus Orgán den tSochaí chun Cearta an Duine agus Saoirsí Bunúsacha atá aitheanta go huilíoch, a Chur ar aghaidh agus a Chosain” a chur ar fáil.”
Note for Editors:
Front Line, founded in 2001, is an NGO based in Blackrock, Co. Dublin whose key mission is to protect vulnerable human rights defenders at immediate risk and to provide practical means to improve their security. A human rights defender is any individual who works non-violently to promote the rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Irish Aid has provided financial support for Front Line since its foundation in 2001. Grants totalling almost €2m have been allocated between 2001 and 2008 and a further tranche of funding will be paid in 2009.
The annual Front Line Award for Human Rights Defenders at Risk honours a Human Rights Defender who, through their non-violent work, has made an outstanding contribution to the promotion and protection of human rights in the face of considerable personal risk. The aim of the award, which was established in 2004, is to focus international attention on the individual's work, while the cash prize supports both the individual and his or her organisation.
8 May 2009