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Citation of the 2008 Gwangju Prize Committee on Munir Malik
Date : 2008-05-15     Hit : 2758
Statement on the Decision on the
2008 Gwangju Prize for Human Rights
Award Winner Muneer Malik

Pakistan, which has the sixth largest population in the world, became independent from England in 1947. Religious differences and conflict led to the separation of Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, and other current states in the continent.
Against this backdrop, the domestic political status of modern Pakistan is far from stable. The present Pakistani President Musharraf, who has total political control, seized power in October 12, 1999 through a military coup d'etat, ousting the popularly elected former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Since then, the military authorities have been in command of all political, social, and economic matters. The recent series of political events lead to negative forecasts on the state of democracy and human rights situation in Pakistan.
A former leader of the Pakistani Supreme Court Bar Association, Mr. Muneer A. Malik, was born in 1950 and became a lawyer in 1975. After becoming appointed as the secretary general for a local lawyers' association in the 1980s, he played a leading role in the popular movements that called for the restoration of democracy, in opposition to the dictatorship of General Zia ul Haq. This resulted in Mr. Malik imprisonment on charges of engaging in anti-government activities in 1981.

Mr. Malik worked as a human rights lawyer to improve human rights and restore democracy in Pakistan. In 2007, he took a leading role in fighting against the attempt made by President Musharraf to oust the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, in order to protect human rights and the independence of the judiciary. When the fight continued for the restoration of rights and the independence of the Pakistani judiciary, he did not give in to suppression, assassination attempts and the closedown of his office. His health deteriorated from alleged food poisoning that he was released from prison to become hospitalized. He had to endure all those difficult times in prison and even after his release. He did not give up. As soon as he regained his health and freedom, he has been continuously fighting for the freedom of the media and the independence of the judiciary.
The 2008 Gwangju Prize for Human Rights Committee chose the Pakistani human rights lawyer Muneer A. Malik for this year's award winner. It was the judgment of the jury that the political and social situation of Pakistan today, which Mr. Malik is fighting against, is quite similar to Korea's past, when the people had to endure a period of military dictatorship. The fight by Mr. Muneer A. Malik for the restoration of democracy and human rights is the kind of spirit that Koreans should remember at all times. The 2008 Gwangju Prize for Human Rights Committee would like to send message of encouragement to all the citizens, human rights activists and lawyers in Pakistan, who are fighting all together with Muneer A. Malik.

The 2008 Gwangju Prize for Human Rights Prize Committee
Committee Chairman:
Mr. Noh, Young Min
Korean National Assembly

Committee Members:

Mr. Kim, Chil-Jun
Secretary General of the National Human Rights Commission,

Mr. Lee, Gwang-Ho
Director of the Pusan Democratic Movement Memorial Association
Mr. Moon, Guk-Joo
Exectuive Director
Korea Democracy Foundation

Mr. Yun, Gwang-Jang
Chairman of the Board of The May 18 Memorial Foundation

April 17, 2008
Gwangju, Republic of Korea
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