The Argentine Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Trade and Worship will hand over the award to ZLHR in Buenos Aires, the capital city this week at a function to be attended by the Argentine government officials. ZLHR will be presented with Commemorative Plaque and US$5 000.
The honour to ZLHR is the first time in the history of this prize that it has gone to an organisation outside the Americas.
The Emilio Mignone International Human Rights Prize was established in 2007 by the Argentine Ministry of Foreign Affairs, International Trade and Worship to grant recognition to foreign institutions and/or individuals residing abroad that are making or have made an outstanding contribution towards the promotion and/or protection of human rights in their own countries in the fight against impunity in cases involving systematic violations of human rights, discrimination and social, economic and cultural rights, among other areas.
Although other countries award human rights distinctions, the Mignone prize is the first one to be awarded by a developing country that has been conspicuous in this field because of its own historical and political context.
“ZLHR is honoured to receive this recognition from a country of the global South,”said ZLHR executive director Irene Petras. “It shows the impact of our growing commitment to south-south partnerships and we hope to see our relations flourish further in the years ahead. It also means so much to know that countries around the world-including those which have experienced some of the most difficult periods of human rights violations themselves – are concerned about the situation in Zimbabwe and are offering solidarity in our trying times.”
ZLHR has over the past years provided a vital democratic lifeline for human rights defenders who would otherwise have no recourse against state-sponsored abuses and persecution by providing free legal representation.
This is not the first time that ZLHR has won awards. In 2009, the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative awarded ZLHR with its International Rule of Law Award. ZLHR in 2008 won the Rights & Democracy John Humphrey Freedom Award in recognition of the organisation’s courageous pursuit of justice for victims of human rights abuses inside Zimbabwe.