The announcement ceremony of the 12th edition of the Polish Prize of Sergio Vieira de Mello, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (2002-2003), took place at the International Conference “The Return of the Fallen Empires” on October 15, 2015 in Villa Decius in Krakow.
This year the Panel of Judges decided to honour Pietro Bartolo from Italy in the “Personal Achievement” category and the La Strada Foundation against Trafficking in Persons and Slavery from Poland in the “Non-Government Organisation” category. This year’s honorary Prize went to the Russian human rights activist Sergei Kovalyov.
- Pietro Bartolo – Laureate in the “person” category
Pietro Bartolo (1956) – an Italian doctor; since 1993, he has managed a specialised medical care centre on the Lampedusa island – the southernmost part of Italy, which has become a destination for illegal immigrants. The centre managed by him is responsible for saving the lives of immigrants arriving at the island via the Mediterranean Sea from Africa and the Middle East and taking care of their health. Bartolo is the head of the team of doctors and rescuers available on the island, i.e., the public health service, the medical personnel of the Red Cross, the “Doctors Without Borders” organisation and voluntary workers participating in rescue operations at sea and on the island. Since 1993, Pietro Bartolo has provided medical care and universal support to more than 250,000 immigrants. He is a witness to the suffering of hundreds of thousands of men, women and children in the age of the growing migration wave connected with the humanitarian crisis in Africa and the Middle East.
- The La Strada Foundation against Trafficking in Persons and Slavery – Laureate in „NGO” category
The La Strada Foundation against Trafficking in Persons and Slavery was formally established in 1996, but it actually began to operate in 1995 by implementing the Programme for the Prevention of Trafficking in Women from Central and Eastern Europe. The statutory goals of the Foundation are activities aimed at respecting human rights, combating trafficking in persons, slavery and forced labour and preventing the exploitation of prostitution, as well as offences against individual freedom and health. The La Strada Foundation raises public awareness of the issue of trafficking in persons, informs society about the threats of going to work abroad, trains clerks, teachers, educators, police officers and border guard officers, and, most importantly, helps and supports victims of trafficking in persons and forced labour and runs a specialist shelter for women who are victims of trafficking in persons. Since 2009, the Foundation has run the National Intervention and Consultation Centre for Victims of Trafficking in Persons. It is also a member of the international La Strada International Network, which operates in eight countries of Europe.
- Sergei Kovalyov – Hononary Prize
Sergei Kovalyov (Russian Federation) – A Russian human rights activist, a former dissident, a biophysician, a penal colony prisoner. A member of the independent Action Group for the Defence of Human Rights, a co-founder of the human rights society Memorial and the Moscow branch of Amnesty International. In post-Soviet Russia, he was a member of parliament, a member of the Supreme Council of the Russian Federation, the chairman of the parliamentary Human Rights Committee, the chairman of the President’s Human Rights Commission, the Human Rights Ombudsman, and a member of the Russian delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. He has criticised authoritarian tendencies of the administrations of Boris Yeltsin and Vladimir Putin. He protested against the war in Chechnya in public. In April 2014, he made an appeal to the international community in an open letter to stop the Russian expansion in Ukraine. Nominated three times for the Nobel Peace Prize. A laureate of the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought awarded by the European Parliament. Decorated with the Great Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland.
The Polish Prize of Sergio Vieira de Mello, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (2002-200) has been granted annually to persons and non-governmental organisations for actions promoting the peaceful co-existence and co-operation of societies, religions and cultures for 12 years. The Award Committee consisting of representatives of the President of the Republic of Poland, the Ambassador of the Federative Republic of Brazil, the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Sweden in Poland, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Ministries of Foreign Affairs, the Polish Ombudsman, the Institute of National Remembrance, Consul General of the United States in Krakow, foundations supporting human rights activities of the Villa Decius Association, the Founders of the Award and the Chairman of the Management Board and Director of the Villa Decius Association. In previous years, the Award was granted to: Leyla Yunus, Myroslav Marynovych, Sister Raphael – Urszula Nałęcz, Arnold Wellman, Hassan Omar Hassan, Bernard Kouchner, Andrzej Przewoźnik (1963-2010), Nagy El-Khoury and Mohammad al-Nokkari, Fatos Lubonja, Leopold Unger (1922-2011), Szewach Weiss, Michał Żejmis, Krystyna Priomko-Serafin, Maryna Hulia, Alaksandr Milinkevich, Marian Żelazek SVD (1918-2006), Tadeusz Mazowiecki and, in the “Non-Governmental Organisation” category, to: the “Amalipe” Centre for Interethnic Dialogue and Tolerance, the Denis Hurley Centre, People in Need, the Halina Nieć Legal Aid Centre, the Memorial Society, the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq, the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, the Magurycz Association, the Festival of Jewish Culture, the Kreisau Foundation.
patronat honorowy/honorary patronage
Prezydent Miasta Krakowa/Mayor of the City of Krakow
patronat medialny/media partners