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Argentina awarded International Human Rights Prize to KontraS

On Monday 17 December 2012, at the Palacio San Martín, the Argentine Foreign Minister, Héctor Timerman, awarded the International Human Rights Prize Emilio F. Mignone -VI edition -, to the Indonesian NGO KontraS - Komisi untuk orang Kekerasan Tindak Hilang & Korban (Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violence), represented by its coordinator Haris Azhar

Also presented at the ceremony were other two NGOs, Human Rights Institute of the Central American University Jose Simeon Canas (IDHUCA) from El Salvador, through its director, Benjamin Cuellar, and Refugees International from the United States, represented by Melanie Teff.

The Foreign Ministry  invited the organisations from Indonesia, El Salvador and the United States to visit the country and to participate in various activities with local institutions, amongst them the Inter-regional Dialogue on Human Rights, held in the auditorium Emilio Mignone at the Human Rights Secretariat.

It should be noted that Argentina, through the delivery of this prize - started in 2007 - expresses its appreciation to personalities or foreign institutions that stand in the promotion and protection of human rights, so reaffirming, in this case through an award, a State policy which is one of the cornerstones of the Argentine foreign policy.

The Mignone Prize was inspired by the life and work of one of the founders of the Centre for Legal and Social Studies (CELS), Emilio Fermin Mignone (1922 - 1998), lawyer, educator and important leader of the human rights movement that emerged during the last military dictatorship in Argentina. He devoted himself to documenting and denouncing in the country and abroad the crimes of state terrorism and contributed to the prosecution of those responsible to ensure that those crimes will never again be committed.

About KontraS

Kontras was founded in 1998, in a context of regional financial crisis and growing cracks in the Suharto regime. Kontras might be regarded as the doyenne of Indonesian human rights organisations, both for its prestige and the scope of its activities.

Kontras accurately represents the Indonesian human rights movement, evaluation shared by social referents from the country and the region and also from government officials. It has representation throughout the archipelago, which allows to work in areas where human rights issues requires constant attention, as Aceh and Papua.

Of the members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Indonesia represents the highest standard in an unfinished process of strengthening democracy and was elected to the Human Rights Council. The government of that country has proceeded to the signing of the Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearances - September 2010 -, although is still pending its ratification. In this respect, it must be stressed the ongoing work carries out by Kontras, aimed at making Indonesia to ratify this important international instrument.

Previous awarded organisations

In 2007, the Foreign Ministry distinguished the Association of Relatives of Detainees and Martyrs for National Liberation of Bolivia (ASOFAMD), organisation dedicated to combat the practice of enforced disappearances. In 2008, the prize was awarded to the Colombian Commission of Jurists (CCJ), an organisation dedicated to the permanent defence of the validity of human rights and International Law.

In 2009 it was awarded to the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), an NGO that promotes human rights, democracy and justice in social and economic development of Latin America and the Caribbean region.

In 2010 was honoured the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), organisation working for the strengthening of human rights in Zimbabwe and the protection of constitutional rights and democracy.

In 2011 was chosen the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (IRCT) from Denmark.


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