Brazil: Human rights awards

Five Brazilian journalists who excelled in the coverage of human rights related issues in the national press during the last 30 years have been awarded the prize "UN: 60 years of Human Rights", an initiative of the UN Information Centre for Brazil (UNIC Rio).

The event was part of the celebrations commemorating the 60 anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights at the UN Information Centre for Brazil (UNIC Rio). © UNRIC/BrazilThe initiative was one of the several events organized by UNIC Rio to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and to celebrate United Nations Day. It was organized in partnership with the Human Rights Secretary of the Brazil Government and over 15 prominent local NGOs, personalities, universities and associations.

The awarded journalists were Caco Barcellos, Henfil (in memoriam), José Hamilton Ribeiro, Ricardo Kotscho and Zuenir Ventura. They were chosen by the approximately 500 journalists who have won the Vladimir Herzog Journalism Prize for Human Rights since 1979. Considered one of the most important journalistic awards in Latin America, the Vladimir Herzog prize is given annually to honor the memory of Vladimir Herzog, a prominent journalist killed under torture by the Brazilian military in 1975, during the dictatorship that ruled the country from 1964 to 1985.

The prize was awarded on 27 October at the Theater of the Catholic University of São Paulo in a ceremony attended by more than 700 people. In addition to representatives of Brazilian media, the ceremony included personalities famed for their struggle in favor of human rights in the country, as well as government officials such as the Brazil Minister for Human Rights, Paulo Vannuchi, who opened the event, representing President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, and the President of the Brazil Congress, Arlindo Chinaglia.

"Unfortunately, all human beings are not born free and equal in dignity and rights, as stated in the Universal Declaration. We need to fight every single day to transform this article into a reality," the Minister said.

During the evening, articles from the Declaration were recited by the Brazilian actress Ester Gois, and the audience also had the opportunity to enjoy a series of short performances by the Luther King Chorus, directed by the renowned conductor Martinho Lutero Galati.

"In awarding these five great journalists, we are thanking all the journalists who have devoted and are devoting their careers, often risking their own lives, in the fight for justice and democracy, in Brazil and all over the world," said the UNIC Rio Director Giancarlo Summa.

A year-long campaign to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was launched on 10 December 2007, Human Rights Day, and will finish on the anniversary date, 10 December 2008.