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The Gwangju Prize for Human Rights

The Gwangju Prize for Human Rights (GPHR) was established in 2000 to succeed in the meaning of the May 18 Citizens Award and Yoon Sang-won Award. Its purpose is to promote the spirit of the May 18 Democratization Movement. Selected individuals and organizations who have contributed significantly to the development of human rights, unification, solidarity, and peace of mankind are awarded. Moreover, Gwangju Prize for Human Rights Special Prize (GPHRSP) was established in 2011 to be awarded biennially to individuals and organizations who support and sponsor people working in journalism, culture, literature, and other fields for improving human rights, democracy, and peace. GPHR award ceremony will be held on May 18 annually.

Background of awarding

  • The enactment of the May 18 Citizens Award and the Yoon Sang-won Award
  • To make known the truth of the May 18 democratic uprising all over the nation, the May 18 Citizens Award was established by the Korea Association of Bereaved Families for Democracy in 1991. It was awarded to individuals or organizations who tried to probe the truth on May 18, 1980, not directly involved in the May 18 democratic uprising. Its award ceremony was held on May 18 with the memorial ceremony. On the other hand, Yoon Sang-won Award was made to look back upon Yoon Sang-won as the leader of the resistance who died for democracy at the old Jeollanam-do provincial Hall on May 27, 1980. The local influentials and the families of the deceased set up a fund to award individuals and organizations who tried to solve the problems during the May 18 democratic uprising. The May 18 Citizens Award and Yoon Sang-won Award were transferred to the May 18 Foundation to expand the range of laureates and enhance the value of the spirit of the May 18 democratic uprising.
  • Integrating two awards and the enactment of GPHR
  • In 1999, there was a meeting hosted by the principal agents related to awarding the prizes, for example, the May 18 Citizens Award, Yoon Sang-won Award, Park Kwan-won Award, and the May Justice Award, etc. They aimed to strengthen the stature of the May 18 democratization movement. As the result of the discussion, they determined to integrate two awards, the May 18 Citizens Award and Yoon Sang-won Award. The May 18 Foundation decided on the name and rules of GPHR, and then, it started awarding the prize for the first time at the first board of directors meeting in 2000.
2024 Laureate of Main Prize

Name: Suganthini Mathiyamuthan Thangarasa
Organization: Amara
2023 Laureate of Main Prize

Name: Chow Hang-Tung
Organization: Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China
2023 Laureate of Special Prize

Name: The Coordination Council of Iranian Teacher Trade Association
Organization: The Coordination Council of Iranian Teacher Trade Association
2022 Laureate of Main Prize

Name: Cynthia Maung (Myanmar)
Organization: Mae Tao Clinic
2021 Laureate of Main Prize

Name: Anon Nampa (Thailand)
Organization: Thai Lawyers For Human Rights
2021 Laureate of Special Prize

Name: Watchdoc Documentary Maker (Indonesia)
Organization: Watchdoc Documentary Maker
2020 Laureate of Main Prize

Name: Bedjo Untung (Indonesia)
Organization: Indonesian Institute for the Study of 1965/1966 Massacre (YPKP65)
2019 Laureate of Main Prize

Name: Joanna Carino (Philippine)
Organization: Cordillera Peoples Alliance
2019 Laureate of Special Prize

Name: Dialita Choir
Organization: Dialita Choir
2018 Laureate of Main Prize

Name: Fr. Nandana Manatunga (Sri Lanka)
Organization: The Human Rights Office Kandy
2017 Laureate of Main Prize

Name: Jatupat Boonpattararaksa (Thailand)
Organization: Dao Din
2017 Laureate of Special Prize

Name: Bambara Serge (Brukina Faso)
Organization: Citizen's Broom
2016 Laureate of Main Prize

Name: Nguyen Dan Que (Vietnam)
Organization: Non Violent Movement for Human Rights in Vietnam
2016 Laureate of Main Prize

Name: BERSIH 2.0 (Malaysia)
Organization: BERSIH 2.0
2015 Laureate of Main Prize

Name: Latifah Anum Siregar (Indonesia)
Organization: Alliance of Democracy for Papua
2015 Laureate of Special Prize

Name: Sombath Somphone (Laos)
Organization: The Participatory Development Training Center
2014 Laureate of Main Prize

Name: Adilur Rahman Khan (Bangladesh)
Organization: Odhikar
2014 Laureate of Main Prize

Name: Mothers of Khavaran (Iran)
Organization: Mothers of Khavaran
2013 Laureate of Main Prize

Name: Hijos e Hijas la Identidad y la Justicia contra el Olvido y el Silencio (Argentina)
Organization: H.I.J.O.S
2013 Laureate of Special Prize

Name: Tempo Weekly Magazine (Indonesia)
Organization: Tempo Weekly Magazine
 
2012 Laureate of Main Prize

Name: Fr. Mun Jeong Hyeon (Republic of Korea)
Organization: Catholic Priests' Organization for Justice
2011 Laureate of Main Prize

Name: Binayak Sen (India)
Organization: People’s Union for Civil Liberties
 
2011 Laureate of Special Prize

Name: Parents Circle Families Forum-Israeli Palestinian Bereaved Families for Peace (Israel & Palestine)
Organization: Israeli-Palestinian Bereaved Families for Peace
2010 Laureate of Main Prize

Name: Sushil Pyakurel (Nepal)
Organization: ccountability Watch Committee
2009 Laureate of Main Prize

Name: Min Ko Naing (Myanmar)
Organization: Burmese Political Prisoners Organization
2008 Laureate of Main Prize

Name: Muneer Malik (Pakistan)
Organization: Karachi Bar Association
2007 Laureate of Main Prize

Name: Lenin Raghuvanshi (India)
Organization: People's Vigilance Committee on Human Rights, India
2007 Laureate of Main Prize

Name: Irom Sharmila Chanu (India)
Organization: People's Rights Organization
2006 Laureate of Main Prize

Name: Malalai Joya (Afghanistan)
Organization: Afganistan Palementary Member
2006 Laureate of Main Prize

Name: Angkhana Neelapaijit (Thailand)
Organization: The Working Group for Justice and Peace
2005 Laureate of Main Prize

Name: Wardah Hafiz (Indonesia)
Organization: Urban Poor Consortium
2004 Laureate of Main Prize

Name: Aung San SuuKyi (Myanmar)
Organization: The National League for Democracy
2003 Laureate of Main Prize

Name: Dandeniya Gamage Jayanthi (Sri Lanka)
Organization: Monument for the Disappeared
2002 Laureate of Main Prize

Name: Korea Association of Bereaved Families for Democracy (Republic of Korea)
Organization: Korea Association of Bereaved Families for Democracy
2001 Laureate of Main Prize

Name: Basil Fernando (Sri Lanka)
Organization: Asian Human Rights Commission
2000 Laureate of Main Prize

Name: Kay Rala Xanana Gusmao (East Timor)
Organization: National Council of Timorese Resistance

List of the previous laureates of Yun Sang-won Award and The May 18 Citizen's Award from 1991 to1999

Year Yun Sang-won Award The May 18 Citizen’s Award
1999 No recipent due to the consolidation of two awards
1998 Koh Young-koo (A lawyer and former president of Minbyun) May Art and the Gwangju-Chonnam Artists Association
1997 Kwon Young-ghil(KCTU Chairman) Gwak No-hyeon, Park Yeon-cheol
1996 Kim Sang-gun (pastor) Hwang In-seong, Kang Yeon-gyun, Jeong Woong-tae
1995 Hwang Sok-young (Gwangju Women Workers' Association Jeonnam branch office of KTU) Ahn Seong-rye
1994 Tobaki (Theater troupe), Jeong Kwang-hun Yun Jeom-soon, the late Park Kwan-hyun
1993 Jeong Hyang-ja (Gwangju-Jeonnam MINKAHYUP Research Institute on Anti-national Activities) The late Lee Han-yeol and Choi Duck-soo
1992 Jeong Hae-sook (Jeollanamd-do Federation of KFL) Mun Ik-hwan,the late Kim Jong-tae and Song Gwang-young
1991 Research Institute on Farm Issues Jeonnam Democratic Youth League, Sung-dam Hong The late Kim Eui-gi, Kim Tae-hoon and Lee Dong-soo
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