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.
Winners of the 17th edition of the Award:
Hussein Alqaidi – is a Kurdish-Jewish. He was born in 1970 in Duhok, Iraqi Kurdistan. He graduated with a degree in Kurdish language and literature from Salahaddin University in Erbil. Since his student days, he has been actively involved in non-governmental and charitable organizations. Among others, he worked for the French organization Pharmaciens sans Frontiéres (Pharmacists Without Borders) and Iraqi Caritas. Hussein Alqaidi, with the support of the Kurdistan Regional Government in 2014 after the seizure of Yezidi lands by ISIS, organized activities to find the missing, free them and help them recover and overcome their trauma. In August 2014, he became head of the “Office of Rescuing Kidnapped Yazidis” (Office of Rescuing Kidnapped Yazidis) and has headed it ever since. At the same time, Hussein Alqaidi is also active in the local Kurdish organization “Dimdim Humanitarian Relief Foundation.” It documents the fate of those rescued from the hands of ISIS, supports them materially and helps them return to a normal life. Hussein Alqaidi travels all over the world to seek support for the Yezidi people, to testify about what happened in Shingal in 2014, to convince the international community to universally recognize this crime as genocide and to hold the perpetrators accountable. Hussein Alqaidi and the Office for the Rescue of Kidnapped Yezidis also works with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI). The office also cooperates with other Yezidi international organizations. Hussein Alqaidi is working with the United Nations Security Council-established 2017 team of inquiry into the crimes of ISIS, as well as with Pramila Patten, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict.
Center for the Defense of Human Rights “Wiosna” from Belarus – the organization began its activities in 1996. In 1999 it was outlawed by the regime of Alexander Lukashenko. The organization provides assistance to those suffering from the regime’s brutality. It conducts monitoring of human rights violations in Belarus, provides legal aid to the repressed and assists protesters in paying off fines imposed by the regime. The organization, thanks to the commitment of its volunteers, has collected hundreds of testimonies of people previously tortured and kidnapped by the militia. It maintains an ongoing and updated list of detainees, which benefits Belarusians seeking information about their missing loved ones. It constantly reports on torture in Belarus to the structures of the European Union and the United Nations, and alerts the public of the world about the situation in Belarus. The organization is headed by Alyaksandr Bialiatski – vice president of the International Federation for Human Rights, who has been arrested several times by the regime. “Spring” was honored with the Jan Karski Eagle Award in 2020 for its work in fighting the authoritarian regime (especially in recent months).
Marian Turski -Born in Druskininkai on June 26, 1926. He was a prisoner of the Auschwitz and Buchenwald concentration camps. In March 1965, he participated in the march against racial segregation in the US South from Selma to Montgomery, organized by Martin Luther King. He is a historian, head of the history section of the weekly Polityka, and chairman of the Association of the Jewish Historical Institute, one of the oldest social organizations working in Poland to commemorate Jewish history and culture. He is active as chairman of the Council of the Museum of the History of Polish Jews, and is also a member of the International Auschwitz Council. He has been awarded the Commander’s Cross with Star of the Order of Polonia Restituta, the Cross of Merit First Class of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany for his services to Polish-German relations. He is also a member of the Social Council under the Ombudsman. In 2015, he was awarded the Badge of Honor of the Ombudsman. In 2018, he was awarded honorary citizenship of the City of Warsaw. With his activities, he actively contributes to the preservation of knowledge about the crimes and victims of Nazism, which is a warning to future generations against committing racially or religiously motivated crimes, exclusion of minorities and sensitization to acts and hate speech.