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The 2018 Gwangju Prize for Human Rights Winner Announcement
Date : 2018-04-13     Hit : 308

The 2018 Gwangju Prize for Human Rights Winner Announcement

 

The 2018 Gwangju Prize for Human Rights Selection Committee selected Mr. Nandana Managunga, a Catholic Father and the representative of the Human Rights Office, Kandy, Sri Lanka. The Committee highly appreciated what Fr. Nandana had carried out to help state violence victims during Sri Lanka’s Dark Age between 2005 and 2015. Fr. Nandana has especially stood on the side of the victims, who have suffered under the dictatorship of the Executive of the country, to fight for them and the committee acknowledged that his activities fit the purposes of the Prize.   

 

During the Dark Age, the country’s power was concentrated on the Executive and the Legislature and the Judiciary didn’t function properly. All this had been done under the pretext of responding to the Civil War related to Tamil but the victims are not restricted to only the Tamil. Illegal atrocious activities, such as murders, tortures, disappearances, arbitrary arrests which had been premeditated by the government were permitted under the pretext of counteracting terrors. Abductions, so-called “Abductions by White Vans” were prevalent not only in Northern Sri Lanka, the area where the Tamil’s population is high but also in the Southern part of the country targeting anti-state groups.   

 

Fr. Nandana began his activities of helping the victims of state violence based on his belief that unless the religious leaders and the victims come forward the human rights violations like tortures and disappearances would not end in Sri Lanka. At the Human Rights Office, Kandy as its center, he has fought to help and protect the state violence victims and to set down the legal system of the country. Victims who had been illegally incarcerated for 7 or 8 years without trials were freed with the help of Fr. Nandana. Also, thanks to his struggles, there are now possibilities of Judiciary reform, expanding the network for human rights of religious leaders, beginning of movements for justice, and establishing democracy in the country.

 

The 2018 Gwangju Prize for Human Rights Selection Committee took an attentive look at the history of Sri Lanka where Fr. Nandana had been actively working. The Committee could have recalled the history of Gwangju while looking into the country’s painful incidents of deaths and disappearances. Also, the committee felt sympathy for Fr. Nandana who has been struggling to promote democracy and human rights under the severe suppressions in his country.

 

The 2018 Gwangju Prize for Human Rights Selection Committee wishes that this Award becomes the bridge between Gwangju of 1980 and Sri Lanka today and that it becomes the beacon for human dignity not only in the two countries but also in the world.  

 

April 11, 2018 

 

The 2018 Gwangju Prize for Human Rights Selection Committee

 

 

The Chief: Cho Yeong-seon, Secretary General of the National Human Rights Committee
Kim Hu-sik, Acting Chairman of the May 18 Memorial Foundation
Ahn Seung-un, Chief of Narakhanal Democracy Education Institute
Ahn Jean, Professor at Chonnam Law School
In Jae-geun, Korea Parliamentary Member
Jeong Jin-u, Vice Chair of the Korea Democracy Foundation 

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