UN Watch to Award Annual Human Rights Prizes to Rwanda Genocide Survivor and Canadian Activist for Iranian Women Facing Execution


Geneva, April 21, 2009 — Tonight, at its annual dinner gala, in the shadow of the Durban Review Conference, the Geneva-based human rights group UN Watch will give its highest honor to two true human rights heroes, who are a beacon of hope for human rights activists and victims around the world.

The Morris B. Abram Human Rights Prize, named after the late civil rights leader and founder of UN Watch, will be awarded to Ester Mujawayo, a survivor of the Tutsi genocide in Rwanda who devotes her life to caring for fellow survivors — the widows, the orphans, and the sick. “She sanctifies the memory of the victims, fights hatred, intolerance, and genocide denial, to reaffirm human dignity and give hope to the generations to come,” reads the UN Watch award inscription.

“It is not enough that we pass resolutions and talk about these tragedies,” says Mujawayo, who will be addressing a UN Watch-organized human rights conference tomorrow. “The genocide in my country was preventable — and as long as the United Nations sits in this conference and does not address the real crises, history is doomed to repeat itself.”

UN Watch will then present its Human Rights Hero Award to Nazanin Afshin-Jam, a former Miss World Canada who is co-founder and President of Stop Child Executions, an organization whose aim is to try and put a permanent end to executions of minors in Iran and abroad, and which has managed to help save many lives.


UN Watch will recognize Ms. Afshin-Jam tonight “for her work in fighting cruelty, injustice and intolerance, and defending the lives of women and children. She is the voice for the voiceless and a hero for the cause of freedom, justice and peace.”
“The work these incredible women do every day means a great deal to survivors and victims in Rwanda and Iran, but are also an inspiration to activists and victims around the world,” said Hillel Neuer, Executive Director of UN Watch. “They have dedicated their lives to the defense of some of the world’s most vulnerable. These awards are a small token of our appreciation and admiration for them both.”

Both of the women being honored at tonight’s dinner are tireless fighters for the causes of justice and human rights in their home countries and throughout the world. Their families have faced horrific tragedy at the hands of the Iranian and Rwandan regimes, and have turned their tragedy to action that may prevent what they experienced.

The Morris B. Abram Human Rights Prize and the Human Rights Hero Award are the highest honors that UN Watch bestows.

UN Watch