Human Rights

Polish Prize of Sérgio Vieira de Mello, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights 

Awarded to individuals and non-governmental organizations for their efforts to promote peaceful coexistence and cooperation among societies, religions and cultures.

About the project:

In 2003, the Villa Decius Association established the Award named after Sérgio Vieira de Mello, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, who was tragically killed that same year in a bombing in Iraq. The Prize is awarded annually to individuals and non-governmental organizations for their special contributions to the peaceful coexistence and interaction of societies, religions and cultures.

Candidates for the Award can be individuals and institutions from Poland and abroad. The Award Chapter includes representatives of: the President of the Republic of Poland, the Ambassador of the Federative Republic of Brazil, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Embassies and Consulates supporting the Association’s activities in the field of human rights, the President of the Institute of National Remembrance (until 2020), the Ombudsman for Civil Rights, the Founders and Initiators of the Award – the ZNAK Foundation and the Villa Decius Association, and from 2020 the Mayor of the City of Krakow. Previous Laureates of the Award include Tadeusz Mazowiecki, the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, Sergey Kovalev, Shevah Weiss, Pietro Bartolo, Tamila Tasheva and the late Pawel Adamowicz.

The winners receive a statuette by Andrzej Rines, a commemorative diploma and a financial prize donated by the Sponsors. The award ceremony is held annually in October as part of an international conference on the idea of freedom organized by the Villa Decius Association in Krakow.

On October 20, 2022, during a gala ceremony at Villa Decius in Krakow, the Award recipients include: Serhij Żadan, Sr. Michaela Rak and the Center for Peace and Reconciliation in Glencree.

Polish Award named after Sérgio Vieira de Mello, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

Sérgio Vieira de Mello

Sérgio Vieira de Mello (1948-2003) – Brazilian diplomat. He was fluent in six languages. He received two doctorates in the humanities from the Sorbonne. During his decades of work at the UN, he held a number of offices, including: UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Kosovo, UN Administrator for East Timor, the office of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (2002-2003) and the office of UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Iraq. While holding this post, he was killed on August 19, 2003 in a bomb attack on the headquarters of the UN facility in Baghdad. All his life he worked for the protection of freedom and human rights, intercultural dialogue, fighting terrorism and the refugee crisis, and upholding international law.

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