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Press Release
For Immediate Release
Contact: Jane Riley Jacobsen
Tel: +1-202-293-9072

March 13, 2003

DEMOCRACY COURAGE TRIBUTES ANNOUNCED
World Movement for Democracy to honor four groups at Durban Assembly

JOHANNESBURG – The Democracy Movement in Sudan; the Mano River Union of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea; the Democratic Movement in Belarus; and two groups working for reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians have been selected to receive Democracy Courage Tributes at the upcoming Assembly of the World Movement for Democracy, which will convene in Durban, South Africa, April 23-27, 2003, at Durban’s International Convention Centre (ICC). The honorees were chosen and announced by the Steering Committee of the World Movement for Democracy. The tributes will be made at the John B. Hurford Memorial Dinner on April 26.

The four selected honorees have all shown exceptional courage in their work for freedom and democracy, often struggling in isolation and against some of the most difficult challenges to democracy and human rights in the world today.

“We will honor these brave and committed democrats not simply for the truly courageous work they have done – but to encourage them to continue on their very difficult path,” said Christopher Landsberg, a member of the World Movement Steering Committee and director of the Centre for Policy Studies in Johannesburg. “Their work inspires all of us, and honoring these four groups builds solidarity throughout the World Movement.”

The theme of the Durban Assembly will be “Building Democracy for Peace, Development, and Human Rights.” Organizers are expecting more than 500 participants. The Democracy Courage Tributes dinner is named for the late John B. Hurford, an international philanthropist who was one of the earliest proponents of the founding of the World Movement for Democracy.

Launched in 1999, the World Movement is a global network of democracy activists, scholars and practitioners from around the world that meets periodically to exchange ideas and experiences and uses new information and communication technologies to foster collaboration among democratic forces around the world. The World Movement is led by an international Steering Committee and the Washington, DC-based National Endowment for Democracy (NED) currently serves as its secretariat. Three South African organizations—the African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD, www.accord.org.za), the Centre for Policy Studies (CPS, www.cps.org.za), and the Institute for Democracy in South Africa (IDASA, www.idasa.org.za)—will serve as local partner organizations.

 


DEMOCRACY COURAGE TRIBUTE RECIPIENTS
APRIL 26, 2003

  • The Democracy Movement in Sudan
    Scores of nongovernmental organizations, including women’s, student, human rights, peace, academic, business, professional, cultural, and religious groups, as well as the independent press and trade unions, have re-emerged in both northern and southern Sudan in the past few years. Largely unrecognized and often at great personal risk, this democratic movement is exerting increasing pressure on all sides of Sudan’s 20-year civil war to end the fighting, and is building the foundations for sustainable peace, democracy, and human rights in the country. Among the groups leading this movement are the Babiker Badri Scientific Association for Women Studies, the Kwoto Cultural Center, the Khartoum Monitor, the Sudan Human Rights Organization, and the New Sudan Council of Churches.

     

  • The Mano River Union Civil Society Movement (Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea)
    Uniting more than 40 groups from Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea, members of the Mano River Union Civil Society Movement have demonstrated extraordinary courage in mobilizing for peace and democracy. Despite harassment and torture, they have continued to appeal for peace negotiations among the governments and combatants in the region, and have organized demonstrations and meetings calling for greater respect for democracy and human rights. Among the organizations leading the Movement are the Association of Liberian Professional Organizations, the Press Union of Liberia, the Campaign for Good Governance of Sierra Leone, and the Organisation Guineene des Droits de l’Homme.

     

  • The Democratic Movement in Belarus
    The movement continues to be heavily repressed for opposing the Lukashenko regime. In a difficult climate in which elections are rigged, politicians are “disappeared,” human rights violated, and independent organizations shut down; the movement is struggling to promote a return to democracy and economic reform in Belarus. In the past year, more than a dozen NGOs and independent newspapers have been forcibly closed. The tribute will be accepted by members of the Assembly of Pro-Democratic NGOs and the Belarusian Association of Journalists, the two leading organizations that support and defend Belarus’ civil society and media sectors.

     

  • IPCRI/Panorama (Israel and Palestine)
    Working under the most difficult circumstances in Palestine and Israel, two groups, Panorama and the Israel-Palestine Center for Research and Information (IPCRI), continue their long-standing, solid commitment to democracy and peace. Panorama's innovative approaches to civic education and youth outreach throughout Palestine have helped to sustain optimism about the prospects for Palestinian democracy and continue to provide a critical moderating influence. ICPRI's unique and ongoing contribution to governance and peace issues affecting Israelis and Palestinians, through research, training and the outline of policy prescriptions for peace, has given it credibility and relevance and has put the organization at the forefront of those working for both peace and democracy.
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