Certificates of Distinction in Civil Courage
The Trustees occasionally confer Certificates of Distinction in Civil Courage to draw attention to additional extraordinary individuals who exemplify the virtue, as well as the community of non-governmental organizations which supports their work.
Awardees are selected by the Trustees from the pool of finalist candidates for the Civil Courage Prize and receive a check for $1,000 and a Certificate.
Rajan Hoole and Kopalasingam Sritharan are former mathematics professors who co-founded the University Teachers for Human Rights in 1987, the first Sri Lankan Tamil group to document abuses by all sides of the armed conflict in Sri Lanka. They have been in hiding since 1990, under a death sentence from the armed Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), a group which has murdered several of their associates. Despite tremendous difficulties, they have continued to produce detailed and reliable reports on the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka.
Dan Que Nguyen is a 62-year doctor who has spent 30 years striving to improve human rights in Vietnam, promoting civil society and a peaceful transition to democracy, and improving the daily lives of people who are suffering both economic and political repression. For his efforts, he has spent 19 years in prison and 3 years under house arrest. He lives now with chronically poor health. He was last arrested in March 2003 after issuing a statement published abroad, asserting that there was no freedom of information in Viet Nam. He was released in early 2005, thanks in part to steady pressure from the international community.
Arnold Tsunga is the Executive Director of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), the acting Executive Secretary of the Law Society of Zimbabwe (LSZ), and the Director of the Africa Regional Programme of the International Commission of Jurists. He also served as a Humphrey Fellow at the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota.
Mr. Tsunga has taken on numerous cases of individuals arrested and abused under the current government; he is one of a diminishing number of professionals advocating for legislative reform, legal representation and the promotion of human rights in Zimbabwe.
In October of 2006, Mr. Tsunga received the Martin Ennals Award from the Defenders Program at Human Rights First. The Award is a unique collaboration among ten of the world's leading non/governmental human rights organizations to give protection to human rights defenders worldwide.
Mr. Tsunga has been the subject of continual smear campaigns in Zimbabwe's state-run newspapers. Authorities have also prosecuted Mr. Tsunga in relation to his membership on the board of an independent radio station called Voice of the People. His life has been threatened repeatedly.
Raphael Wakenge is the co-founder of the Congolese Justice and Peace Initiative, which works tirelessly to carry out long-term investigations of grave violations of international human rights and humanitarian law in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Despite threats, beatings and jail sentences, he continues to interview and protect victims, author reports and communiques to international human rights organizations, and speak out on local and international radio against human rights abuses.
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