[Dateline: São Paulo | Author: UNIC Rio]
More than 700 persons gathered on the evening of 27 October at the Theater of the Catholic University of São Paulo, Brazil for an award ceremony of the Prize "UN: 60 years of Human Rights".
An initiative of the UN Information Centre for Brazil (UNIC Rio), the Prize was awarded to the five Brazilian journalists who have excelled in the coverage of human rights related issues in the local press during the last 30 years.
The awarded journalists were Caco Barcellos, Henfil (in memoriam), José Hamilton Ribeiro, Ricardo Kotscho and Zuenir Ventura. They were chosen by the approximately 500 journalists who have won the Vladimir Herzog Journalism Prize for Human Rights since 1979. Considered one of the most important journalistic awards in Latin America, the Vladimir Herzog prize is given annually to honor the memory of Vladimir Herzog, a prominent journalist killed under torture by the Brazilian military in 1975, during the dictatorship that ruled the country from 1964 to 1985.
The five recipients themselves have all won the Herzog prize several times each, and are among the most famous Brazilian reporters (cartoonist, in Henfil’s case) of all times.
In addition to representatives of Brazilian media, the moving ceremony included personalities famed for their struggle in favor of human rights in the country, as well as government officials such as the Brazilian Minister for Human Rights, Mr. Paulo Vannuchi, who opened the event, representing President Lula, and the President of the Brazilian Congress, Rep. Arlindo Chinaglia.
"Unfortunately, all human beings are not born free and equal in dignity and rights, as stated in the Universal Declaration [of Human Rights (UDHR)]. We need to fight every single day to transform this article into a reality," the Minister said. "We have won many battles, in Brazil we are living in a full democracy now, but much is still left to do to ensure that social, economical and cultural rights will be granted to everybody."
During the evening, articles from the Declaration were recited by the Brazilian actress Ester Gois, and the audience also had the opportunity to enjoy a series of short performances by the Luther King Chorus, directed by the renowned conductor Martinho Lutero Galati.
The initiative was part of the celebrations for United Nations Day and one of the several events organized by the UN Information Centre for Brazil (UNIC Rio) to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the UHDR. It has been organized in partnership with the Human Rights Secretary of the Brazilian Government and over 15 prominent local Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), personalities, universities and associations.
"One of the fundamental rights stated by the Universal Declaration is the right to information; and at the same time, free and engaged media have an essential role in advancing all the human rights," said the UNIC Rio Director Giancarlo Summa. "In awarding these five great journalists, we are thanking all the journalists who have devoted and are devoting their careers, often risking their own lives, in the fight for justice and democracy, in Brazil and all over the world."