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Resource Page: Cancelling the UNESCO-Obiang Prize

The UNESCO-Obiang Nguema Mbasogo International Prize for Research in the Life Sciences is named after and financed by the brutal and corrupt dictator of the oil-rich West African country of Equatorial Guinea, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo. Human Rights Watch is part of a global campaign working to abolish the prize, as its existence constitutes an unwarranted international endorsement of President Obiang and contradicts UNESCO's mission. Recognizing a lack of consensus among member states to support the prize, UNESCO's governing board decided in October 2010 to suspend the award indefinitely. Human Rights Watch and fellow campaigners around the world have called on the organization to cancel it completely.


FACT SHEET ON THE UNESCO-OBIANG PRIZE
PRESS RELEASES
COMMENTARY
LETTERS TO UNESCO
CORRESPONDENCE FROM UNESCO
PUBLIC STATEMENTS BY THE GOVERNMENT OF EQUATORIAL GUINEA
OFFICIAL UNESCO DOCUMENTS
OTHER RELEVANT UN DOCUMENTS



FACT SHEET ON THE UNESCO-OBIANG PRIZE

PRESS RELEASES

COMMENTARY

LETTERS TO UNESCO

  • August 12, 2010 joint civil society letter to the UNESCO Executive Board urging the Board to cancel the UNESCO-Obiang prize at the upcoming October Board meeting.
  • June 13, 2010 open letter to UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova.
  • June 11, 2010 public statement by Archbishop Desmond Tutu calling on UNESCO's Executive Board to reconsider the prize and calling for the funds to benefit the people of Equatorial Guinea.
  • June 11, 2010 letter from the Philippines Commission on Human Rights to that country's foreign minister to ask that he "take urgent steps" to block the UNESCO-Obiang prize.
  • June 11, 2010 letter to UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova from Laureates of the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize.
  • June 11, 2010 letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon from the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) Civil Society Coalition.
  • May 26, 2010 letter from Public health and science professionals to UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova.
  • May 25, 2010 letter from prominent Japanese scholars to the Japanese Foreign Minister.
  • May 20, 2010 letter from press freedom groups to UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova urging the abolition of the UNESCO-Obiang Prize.
  • May 10, 2010 joint civil society letter to UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova urging the abolition of the UNESCO-Obiang Prize.
  • March 4, 2010 EG Justice petition to UNESCO with nearly 250 signatories from some 40 countries asking UNESCO to halt the award.
  • March 4, 2010 letter to UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova from Equatoguinean and international scholars urging the abolition of the UNESCO-Obiang Prize.
  • January 21, 2010 joint civil society letter to UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova urging the abolition of the UNESCO-Obiang Prize.

CORRESPONDENCE FROM UNESCO

  • May 5, 2010 letter from UNESCO-Director-General Bokova to Human Rights Watch acknowledging Human Rights Watch's concerns about the award and confirming that she shared Human Rights Watch's concerns with several member states on the Executive Board.
  • April 22, 2010 letter from UNESCO Director-General Bokova to UNESCO member-states announcing that UNESCO would award the UNESCO-Obiang prize at the end of June and requesting that states submit nominations.
  • March 16, 2010 letter from UNESCO Director-General Bokova to Tutu Alicante in response to a joint letter from Equatoguinean and international scholars urging the cancellation of the UNESCO-Obiang Prize.

PUBLIC STATEMENTS BY THE GOVERNMENT OF EQUATORIAL GUINEA

  • June 17/18 government statement responding to the international organizations opposed to the UNESCO-Obiang Prize.
  • June 16/17 government statement following the June 15 UNESCO decision to delay awarding the UNESCO-Obiang prize.
  • June 13/14 government statement urging UNESCO not to respond to international pressures to abolish the UNESCO-Obiang prize.
  • June 11/12 government statement responding to international criticism of the UNESCO-Obiang award.

OFFICIAL UNESCO DOCUMENTS

  • UNESCO document establishing the UNESCO-Obiang Nguema Mbasogo International Prize for Research in the Life Sciences.
  • The original guidelines for nominating and awarding the UNESCO-Obiang Nguema Mbasogo International Prize for Research in the Life Sciences.
  • The official website for the UNESCO-Obiang Nguema Mbasogo International Prize for Research in the Life Sciences, which provides basic information about the prize and its stipulations.
  • June 15, 2010 address by Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, at an Information Meeting of the Executive Board UNESCO announcing her decision not to set a date to award the UNESCO-Obiang prize until it can be further discussed at the October.

OTHER RELEVANT UN DOCUMENTS

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