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Asma Jahangir awarded UN prize for promoting human rights 

20 November 2010 08:43:12

Asma Jahangir awarded UN prize for promoting human rights

One of Pakistan’s leading human rights defenders, Asma Jahangir, has been named as this year’s winner of a United Nations award that recognises outstanding individual contribution to promoting a culture of human rights around the world.

UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) Director General Irina Bokova nominated Asma Jahangir as laureate of this year’s Bilbao Prize for the Promotion of a Culture of Human Rights in recognition of her work in Pakistan’s Supreme Court where she championed the rights of religious minorities, women and children.

Asma Jahangir is the president of the Supreme Court Bar Association of Pakistan, a founding member of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan and served as its secretary-general and chairperson.

Internationally, she is known for her roles as the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief, and the UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions.

Announcing Asma Jahangir as the winner of the prize as the UN marked the International Day for Tolerance was intended honour her commitment and important contribution to fostering inter-religious and inter-cultural dialogue, tolerance, mutual understanding and cooperation for peace, Unesco said.

The award carries a $25,000 cash reward, a diploma and a bronze trophy, which will be presented at a ceremony in Bilbao, Spain, on December 10, which is observed globally as Human Rights Day.

The Unesco-Bilbao Prize is given out every two years and is funded by a donation from the Spanish city. It succeeded the Unesco Prize for Human Rights Education that was set up 30 years ago.

The prize was first awarded to Stephane Hessel, a French human rights advocate, in 2008.