United Nations Prize in the Field of Human Rights

award for human rights

The United Nations Prizes in the Field of Human Rights were instituted by United Nations General Assembly in 1966. They are intended to "honour and commend people and organizations which have made an outstanding contribution to the promotion and protection of the human rights embodied in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in other United Nations human rights instruments". The UN first awarded the prize to six recipients at a ceremony on 10 December 1968 – the 20th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which the UN has designated Human Rights Day. They have been given out at five-year intervals since then, with the exception of 1983, to individuals, groups and organizations. As of December 2018, 64 awards have been presented, including nine awards presented posthumously (four to recipients who had been murdered while pursuing human rights for others). The recipients are selected by a committee composed of the presidents of the UN General Assembly, the UN Economic and Social Council and the UN Human Rights Council (which replaced the UN Commission on Human Rights in 2006), and the chairs of the UN Commission on the Status of Women and of the Advisory Committee of the UN Human Rights Council (which replaced the UN Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights in 2006). Since 1998, the awards are announced by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, which was created a few days after the 1993 ceremony.The physical token of the award is a metal plaque bearing the UN seal and an artistic design, and engraved with an appropriate citation. In contrast to the Nobel prizes – whose list of prizewinners of the Nobel Peace Prize shares much common ground with the UN Prize in the Field of Human Rights – the UN's awards are non-monetary in nature.
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