Five human rights defenders

9 07 2012

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Somchai Neelapajit Memorial Fund reveals Five Human Rights Defenders Shortlisted for its Award

(9 July 2012) The five shortlisted candidates for the 2012 Somchai Neelapajit Award are: 1. Ms Jittra Kotchadej Labour rights and political rights activist 2. Mr Rasada Manurasada Human rights lawyer for victims of violence in Southern Thailand and in other parts of the country 3. Mr Somyot Prueksakasemsuk Labor rights activist and political activist (currently detained in prison) 4. Mr Adisorn Kerdmongkol Expert on the rights of migrant workers 5. Udon Thani Environment Group Grassroots network of villagers that are defending the community rights from Potash Industry.

Out of these names, there will be one person/ group which will receive the 2012 Somchai Neelaphajit Award together with 50,000 Thai Baht. The other four will receive Outstanding Human Rights Defender Award with prize money of 10,000 Thai Baht.

Jon Ungpakorn, a Committee member and Founder of Somchai Neelapaijit Memorial Fund, said that Thailand has been suffering from problems concerning human rights violations from both state agencies as well as from state mechanisms. The five names that are shortlisted for this award are those that have fought to protect human rights bravely, vigorously, and at times they have put themselves in danger in order to defend human rights just like the disappeared human rights lawyer Somchai Neelapaijit. Somchai had fought on behalf of human rights principles until he was a victim of enforced disappearance. This award aims to honor and support human rights defenders who have dedicated their lives in working to protect human rights. It also aims to communicate to Thai society to recognize the important roles that these individuals/group play as well as to shed light on the human rights problems in Thailand.

The award giving ceremony will take place from 9.30am to 12.00pm on 11 July 2012 at Conference Room, 4th Floor, Thai Volunteer Service, Soi Rohitkul, Pracharat Bampen Road (Huay Kwang station MRT stop). Apart from the ceremony, there will be a panel discussion on the topic of “The road of struggle and experiences of Thai human rights defenders” by all five shortlisted individuals as well as a closing remark by Dr Charnvit Kasetsiri.

Somchai Neelapaijit Fund had opened up the public nomination for individuals and organizations to nominate people and organizations from February to April 2012. There are 20 individuals and organizations that have been nominated. They represented broad and diverse groups of human right defenders ranging from those working on community development, volunteering, and combating injustice. Five names have been shortlisted while one out of the five will be given the award. There are four criteria for the selection namely: 1) The recipient(s) of the award works to promote and protect the human rights on issues that are related to the public interest; 2) The recipient(s) has outstanding record; 3) The recipient(s) has not been given an award on human rights before; 4) The recipient(s) works on issue of human rights that is contemporary and are still discussed in the society and he/she has risk from being attacked or violated for his/her /their human rights work.

Somchai Neelapaijit Memorial Fund starts to give out Somchai Neelapaijit Award with the intention to honor and give support to those who play important roles and has dedicated them to promote and protect human rights in Thailand. The Fund also aims to provoke Thai society to see the importance and recognize the roles that human rights defenders play. The award is an open process whereby anyone can make nomination. This is the first year that the award is given out.

How to get to the Venue:

If you travel by MRT, get off at Huay Kwang MRT Stop. Get of exit to Pracharat Bampen Road. Take a motorcycle taxi to Summer Mansion. Thai Volunteer Service Building is at the far end of the Soi.

Please register your attendance at: http://bit.ly/PcbXyQ

For more information, please contact Ms Thaweeporn at 0898291167

See Google Map of the venue : http://goo.gl/maps/28De

Agenda of Somchai Neelaphaijit Awarding Ceremony 2012 

11 July 2012, 9.30am – 12.00pm

Conference Room, Fourth Floor, Thai Volunteer Service, Huay Kwang, Bangkok

9.30 – 10.00am: Registration

10.00-10.30am: Introduction by Master of Ceremony

•  Opening session by Ms Angkhana Neelaphaijit, Committee member of Somchai Neelaphaijit Memorial Fund

• History of Somchai Neelaphaijit’s fund and the Award by Jon Ungpakorn, Committee member of Somchai Neelaphaijit Memorial Fund

10.30 – 10.45am: Announcment and presentation of Somchai Neelapaijit Award and Certificates for Outstanding Human Rights Defenders

• Award presentation by Dr Charnvit Kasetsiri, historian professor and former Rector of Thammasat University

10.45am – 12.00pm: A panel discussion entiteld “On the Trail of Struggle: Lessons Learned from Human Rights Defenders” featuring:

• Awardee of Somchai Neelapaijit Award

• 4 Reciepients of Certificates for Outstanding Human Rights Defenders

• Moderated by Ruj Komonbut, assistant professor at the Faculty of Journalism and Mass Communication, Thammasat University and Committee member of Somchai Neelaphaijit Memorial Fund

12.00pm: Closing speech by Dr Charnvit Kasetsiri


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