Sydney-based group receives 2020 Asia Democracy Award

11/30/2020 09:33 PM
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TFD chairperson You Si-kun (left)
TFD chairperson You Si-kun (left)

Taipei, Nov. 30 (CNA) The Sydney-based Asia Pacific Forum of National Human Rights Institutions (APF) was named winner of the 2020 Asia Democracy and Human Rights Award, by award organizer Taiwan Foundation for Democracy (TFD) Monday.

"The APF is recognized for its contributions in making regional governments understand the significance of upholding human rights," TFD chairperson You Si-kun (游錫堃), who is also Taiwan's legislative speaker, said during a press conference.

This was the 15th edition of the annual award since it was established in 2006. Previous winners include international press freedom organization Reporters Without Borders, Afghan women's rights advocate Sima Samar, and the Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances, which was founded in Manila.

TFD President Huang Yu-lin (黃玉霖) said at the same press conference that the selection process this year involved two rounds of reviews by seven local panelists and seven foreign panelists.

This year's nominees included individuals and organizations from Australia, India, and the U.S., among others, he added.

APF is a coalition of national human rights institutions (NHRIs) from across the Asia-Pacific region. It undertakes important work to strengthen the promotion and protection of human rights for vulnerable people in the region, according to a press release from TFD.

Founded in 1996, APF currently has 16 NHRIs from different countries as official members, and nine other NHRIs as associate members, the press release said.

APF's major achievements include helping member institutions to realize their national mandates and developing comprehensive programs for regional cooperation on human rights, among others, according to the press release.

Shin Hae Bong, president of Japan's non-governmental organization Human Rights Now and a finalist selection committee member, lauded APF for acting as a platform to help different NHRIs carry out their missions over the past 25 years.

"The activities of APF represent an exemplary model of best practices in the international human rights community," Shin was cited as saying in the press release.

Derek Mitchell, president of the U.S. based-National Democratic Institute, also a member of the finalist selection committee, said it is "an important time to spotlight human rights and democracy commitments throughout the region, and the enduring relevance of these values," according to the press release.

"Taiwan is a beacon in Asia for these values, granting this award would affirm regional solidarity and Taiwan's leadership in support of democracy and human rights in Asia," he added.

As of press time, APF had yet to respond to CNA's email asking for its comments on receiving the award.

Meanwhile, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, no physical awards ceremony will take place this year, according to TFD.

Instead, videos introducing the work of APF and its winning speech will be posted on TFD's website and social media platforms on Dec. 10, to coincide with International Human Rights Day, it said. (Emerson Lim)


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