On 15 September, 2011, meeting of the Chapter of the Polish Prize of Sergio Vieira de Mello, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (2002-2003) took place. The prize is awarded annually to individuals and NGOs for special merits in peaceful co-existence and co-operation of communities, religions and cultures.
The Panel of Judges, which consists of the high representatives of the President of the Republic of Poland, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, the Polish Ombudsman, the President of the Institute of National Remembrance, Embassies and foundations which support activities in the field of human rights, as well as the Prize Founders, looked into 29 applications. In the “person” category, 15 individuals were nominated, whereas in the “NGO” category, 12 organisations. All applications sent, met the criteria of the Prize’s regulations.
Winners of the 8th Edition of the Prize, 2011
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 enabling elections in 2002. He is 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, PhD, 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 Rother 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 co-operates 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 – Special Prize
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 has worked as both the organiser and a participant of 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 has presented, and the UN General Assembly in December 1987 adopted, a declaration on the right of doctors and humanitarian aid organisations to access countries which are war-stricken or affected by natural disasters.