Memorial Received the Victor Gollancz Prize
On November 14, 2009, in Göttingen city of Germany, Human Rights Center “Memorial” received the Victor Gollancz* prize for defending rights of threatened peoples.
The prize was instituted by the “Society for the defense of the rights of threatened peoples” (GfbV). Work with ethnic and religious minorities all over the world is in the spotlight of the organization. The society fights against racism, genocide, fascism. There are offices of the society in Austria, Italy, Switzerland, Luxemburg, Bosnia and Iraq.
At the opening ceremony, the chairman of the GfbV Tilman Züch presented the prize to Oleg Orlov, chairman of “Memorial” in the name of Memorial. The award ceremony was in the ancient Fencing Hall at the Göttingen University.
According to Zülch, Memorial was awarded the prize for unprecedented courage of its members. Human rights activists risk their lives in such hostile environment for defending human rights in Russia.
“For diplomatic reasons, if serious human rights violations are hushed up and played down, it is mean you let the murder of Natalya Estemirova. We need ongoing political and public support, not only occasional expressions of sympathy for our efforts” said Oleg Orlov.
Also, this year the Victor Gollancz prize was awarded to Brazil project defending the rights of Indians, the Catholic Indian Mission Council (CIMI), too. The award was present to Jose Eden Pereria, the General Secretary of CIMI.
On the same day, at 18.00, Oleg Orlov participated the informal essay of Chechen Culture Center in Berlin.
Let’s remind you, The European Parliament has awarded its Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought to Memorial, a leading Russian human rights organization and to the prominent human rights activists Lyudmila Alekseeva, Sergei Kovalev, and Oleg Orlov, and other Russian human rights defenders, and it will present on December 16.
*Victor Gollancz, was born in 1893, a British public figure, publicist, human rights activist. He wrote some criticisms about USSR and since 1943 he wrote about Nazi crimes. In 1945 Gollancz stood up for Germans living in the occupied territories, demanded more humane treatment for them. He organized the collecting of products and clothing for German and Italian residents. Moreover, Gollanzc wrote a string of pamphlets against deportation of the Germans from the territories taken by other governments. Together with Bertrand Russell and Robert Jung, Gollancz started the movement for nuclear disarmament. Victor Gollancz died in 1967.