Vitit Muntarbhorn wins 2004 UNESCO prize for Human Rights Education

10-12-2004 11:45 am Director-General of UNESCO Koïchiro Matsuura has named
Professor Vitit Muntarbhorn of Thailand the winner of the 2004 UNESCO
Prize for Human Rights Education.vitit_inside.jpg

Vitit Muntarbhorn, born in 1952, Professor of Law at Chulalongkorn
University, Bangkok, has devoted his life to human rights education
activities, notably through his teaching and his participation in training
sessions, seminars and conferences. An expert and consultant for several
United Nations organizations, he is also the author of numerous
publications and learning tools (including board games with a human rights
theme). Since July 2004, as Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human
Rights in the Democratic People´s Republic of Korea, he has been mandated
by the United Nations Commission on Human Rights and the United Nations
General Assembly to examine the state of human rights in that country.

Mr Muntarbhorn was recommended for the Prize by an international jury
which met in Paris last October 16 and 17. Four Honourable Mentions were
also awarded. One has been given to Professor David Jan McQuoid-Mason
(South Africa) for his work in human rights education, particularly with
schoolchildren (Street Law workshops), students, prison staff and police

Another Honourable Mention recognizes legal expert Anatoly Azarov (Russian
Federation), founder and director of the Moscow School of Human Rights
(MSHR). A non-governmental organization, MSHR conducts human rights
education projects and produces Russian translations and adaptations of
handbooks and videos on human rights, disseminated in schools and also in

The Oslo Coalition on Freedom of Religion or Belief (Norway) is an
international network of representatives of faith communities, NGOs,
international organizations and the scientific community that promotes
freedom of religion or belief. It will also receive an Honourable Mention
for its project “Teaching for Tolerance and Freedom of Religion or

The Instituto Peruano de Educación en Derechos Humanos y la Paz (IPEDHP,
Peru) is the fourth recipient of an Honourable Mention for its work on
behalf of human rights. A non-profit educational association, it is
developing notably the project “Frontera Selva” that aims to disseminate
knowledge among indigenous people about human rights, democracy and
participation in civic life.

The UNESCO Prize for Human Rights Education, awarded every two years, was
established in 1978 to mark the 30th anniversary of the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights and to honour efforts of institutions,
organizations or individuals that have made a particularly significant
contribution to human rights education and the promotion of human rights.
The laureate is named on December 10, Human Rights Day. This year the UN
High Commissioner for Human Rights and UNESCO have dedicated the day to
human rights education.

Former prizewinners include Václav Havel (Czech Republic) in 1990; the
Arab Institute of Human Rights (Tunisia) in 1992; Justice Michael Kirby of
the High Court of Australia in 1998; the city of Nuremberg (Germany) in
2000;  and the Academia Mexicana de Derechos Humanos (Mexico) in 2002.

The Jury considered 55 candidates. It was composed of Abdelfattah Amor
(Tunisia), Chairperson of the United Nations Human Rights Committee;
Kinhide Mushakoji (Japan), President of the Asia-Pacific Human Rights
Information Centre (Hu-Rights Osaka); Nasila S. Rembe (South Africa),
holder of the UNESCO Oliver Tambo Human Rights Chair at Fort Hare
University (Alice); Dina Rodriguez Montero (Peru), Director of the Gender
and Peace Studies Department at the United Nations University for Peace
(Costa Rica); Rumen Valchev (Bulgaria), holder of the UNESCO Chair for
Human Rights and the Culture of Peace at Bourgas Free University, in
Sofia;  and Antoine Valéry (France), President of the Committee on Human
Rights and Ethical Issues of the French National Commission for UNESCO.

Mr. Matsuura will present the prize to Vitit Muntarbhorn in Bangkok at the
end of March 2005.

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