UPR Info wins the 2019 Democracy and Human Rights Prize

On Wednesday, March 27th, UPR Info was pleased to receive the 2019 Democracy and Human Rights Prize of the Parliament of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation.

The President of the Parliament of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation, Philippe Courard, presented the award and commended UPR Info’s progress made, saying “By focusing on human rights, democratic governance, the rule of law, gender equality, and sustainable development while being economically equitable and socially and environmentally sustainable, UPR Info has extensive experience in developing the capacities of various national partners in advocating for the respect of human rights. The organization’s promotion of the universal periodic review as well as their work of strengthening the mechanism as an effective tool to improve the respect for human rights on the ground make it one of the main actors in international democratic monitoring.” This prize is awarded to one organization or institution every year selected by the Wallonia-Brussels Federation Parliament and a jury composed of the President of the Parliament, members of the Bureau, and presidents of recognized political groups, who choose groups with specific achievements in the francophone world promoting peace, democracy, and human rights. The award has been running annually since 2015, when Dr. Denis Mukwege, a world-renowned gynecologist, human rights activist, and Nobel Peace laureate received the award. Dr. Mukwege has since become the world’s leading specialist in the treatment of wartime sexual violence and a global campaigner against the use of rape as a weapon of war. 

Mona M’Bikay, the Executive Director of UPR Info, delivered a speech at the award ceremony and spoke about the progress that the organization has made since 2008 as well as the new priorities of the organization. UPR Info is committed to continuing its work to promote human rights and the participation of all national stakeholders in the UPR for an inclusive society, based on equal opportunities where everyone can realize their potential. Parliamentarians, indeed, play a crucial role in ensuring that laws are not discriminatory and respectful of human rights commitments, and in ensuring the implementation of human rights recommendations. “With the award we are receiving, we hope to develop a project to support parliamentarians' engagement in the Universal Periodic Review for the promotion of human rights and democratic governance.”

Mona M’Bikay also described the ways that the UPR is useful in attaining human rights goals, saying, “Creating synergies between the Sustainable Development Goals and the Universal Periodic Review will also enable the realization of human rights, sustainable development and the consolidation of peace and security through the prevention of rights violations that can be a source of conflict.” While speaking of the crucial importance of education in building inclusive and equal societies committed to development, Mona M’Bikay also emphasized the importance of women participating in society, saying “It is important to support women’s participation and representation at the political and economic levels and to ensure that their voice is heard on all issues affecting their rights.” Mona M'Bikay recently became a Gender Champion with the International Gender Champions Network, and committed to creating a specific gender-policy for UPR Info as well as to further advocate for gender equality.

Photo credit: Isopix Eric Vidal Photographe