Latifah Anum Siregar Wins 2015 Gwangju Prize for Human Rights
The May 18 Memorial Foundation
10 May, 2015
Latifah Anum Siregar
The 2015 Gwangju Prize for Human Rights Committee has chosen Latifah Anum Siregar, a human-rights lawyer, as the recipient of the prize, for her peace movement in the conflict region of West Papua.
West Papua has been under colonial rule since the beginning of the 19th century, under powers such as Japan or Netherlands, and was separated from ‘Papua New Guinea’ in the east after World War 2. In 1969, West Papua had an independence referendum under the supervision of the Indonesian government, but the electorate body was blackmailed into unanimously voting to remain a part of Indonesia. Since then West Papua has voiced its desire for independence, but was met with oppression, resulting in arrests, torture, rape, murder, and other human rights violations.
Latifah Anum Siregar is not only a human-rights attorney, but is also the chairperson of the Alliance for Democracy in Papua, a member of the Papua regional council, and a member of the human rights commission. She has made huge contributions to the maintaining peace in a region of conflict and violence. As the chairperson of the Alliance for Democracy in Papua, Siregar codified traditions to search for a peaceful solution with the government in the territorial dispute, reformed the system for women’s rights activists with the human rights institute, Imparsial, protected Papua human rights activists, reported human rights violations to the UN, supported Papua peace process, and is involved in many activities.
The committee has judged that Latifah Anum Siregar exemplifies the ideals of human rights and peace of the 5·18 movement. Moreover, the fact that she was able to lead the Papua Peace Movement despite multiple threats and kidnappings, suspected to be from the government, has been highly regarded. She has also been recognized for showing the universality of human value by dedicating herself for the predominantly Christian region of Papua, despite being Muslim herself.
Not discriminating despite political, racial, cultural, regional, and religious differences is at the core of protecting and developing human rights. Being a region of conflict and human rights violations of the local populace, the world must give attention to West Papua. We hope that the conflict will end and that human rights will be restored in West Papua, to finally bring peace to the region. We hope that this year’s Gwangju Prize for Human Rights will be a source of good news for those who wish for peace in the region of West Papua, and to also be a source of strength and encouragement for Latifah Anum Siregar who has fought through many hardships to achieve peace.
The 2015 Gwangju Prize for Human Rights Committee has also selected Sombath Somphone, the founder of Participatory Development Training Center, as the recipient of the 2015 Gwangju Prize fo Human Rights’ special prize. Sombath Somphone had been running an active campaign against the Laotian government’s project of building the Xayaburi Dam on the Lower Mekong River, until his kidnapping in 2012 by the police. His whereabouts or his current condition is unknown. We hope to bring the government backed kidnapping to light through the Gwangju Prize for Human Rights, and also hope that he will be found as soon as possible. We also hope that this serves as rallying point for the search for Sombath Somphone that will be taking place in May.
2015 Gwangju Prize for Human Rights Committee
Chair of Committee
Ok Hyunjin (Vicar generalof the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Gwangju)
Members of Committe
Kim Sooah (Court-appointed lawyer of the Jeju District Court)
Kim Jongseh (Executive Director of the Busan Democracy Movement Memorial Project)
Sohn Shimgil (Secratary-General of the National Human Rights Committee)
In Jaegun (Member of the National Assembly)
Cha Myeongsuk (Chairman of the Board of Directors of the 5.18 Memorial Foundations)
Park Haegwang (Chonnam National University Director of Research of 5·18
The May 18 Memorial Foundation
5.18 Memorial Culture Hall
Seo-Gu, Sangmudong 1268
Gwangju, Republic of Korea
Phone: +82 62 360 0518
Fax. +82 62 360 0519
Website : eng.518.org
Comments are moderated