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 8th edition of the Award:
Hassan Omar Hassan – lawyer and activist calling for creation of civil society in Kenya. Vice-president of the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights. Founder of the Muslim Consulting Council and “Muungano wa Mageuzi” (“Movement for Change”) which both aimed at strengthening democratic processes and carrying free elections in 2002. Particularly engaged in actions for fighting ethnic, religious and cultural divisions which are used to attain short-term political objectives. Advocate of women’s rights and improvement of conditions in Kenyan refugee camps. Promoter of constitutional changes, political reforms and a witness protection programme.
Halina Nieć Legal Aid Centre, (HNLAC) is a NGO opened in Krakow in 2002 by graduates of the Faculty of Law and Administration of the Jagiellonian University, as the initiative of Halina Nieć, Ph.D., to promote and respect human rights, provide legal aid free of charge and implement projects related to education and democratisation. The organisation provides legal aid in civil law cases, helps refugees and other foreigners seeking protection in Poland, organises trainings on human rights and refugee protection, monitors prisons’ and border crossings’ standards of treatment and accessibility to refugee procedures, as well as their observance of the principle of no-refoulement. HNLAC cooperates with police and La Strada Foundation in counteracting human trafficking and participates in works of the Team for Matters of Trafficking in Human Beings of the Ministry of the Interior and Administration. The Centre is an executive partner of the Office of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
Bernard Kouchner – French doctor, politician and activist for humanitarian help. From 1988 to 2010, he was the Minister for Humanitarian Action, Minister of Health and Minister of Foreign Affairs in several French governments. In 1999-2001, nominated as UN Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK). Since 1968, he organised and participated in numerous humanitarian missions for victims of nuclear, industrial and political catastrophes, among others in: Biafra, Jordan, Lebanon, Saigon. Co-founder of “Doctors Without Borders” (1971) and “Doctors of the World” (1980) organisations, as well as a foundation for fighting against AIDS and helping homeless (1993). On his initiative, France presented and the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution on creating “humanitarian channels” enabling doctors and humanitarian aid organisations to access countries which are war-stricken or affected by natural disasters.