Tag Archives: Nobel Peace Prize

[People] Nelson Mandela, champion of peace and human rights. By Fr. Shay Cullen

Nelson Mandela, champion of peace and human rights
By Fr. Shay Cullen

What made Nelson Mandela the most famous and revered leader world-wide, and perhaps the most respected leader in history was his unshakable commitment to human rights and dignity. He inspired his nation as a political prisoner for 27 years under the apartheid white minority regime of South Africa and he stood by his principles, beliefs and commitments to democracy and racial freedom despite the offers of freedom if he compromised and betrayed his cause.


He refused at first to renounce armed struggle as a legitimate right against the oppression of the regime – until they agreed to renounce it also. He was called a terrorist, not a freedom fighter. He choose to remain behind bars and suffer deprivations and humiliations with stoic virtue until the racist apartheid government recognized that only he could tame the rampaging civil unrest. The protest movement led by his African National Congress (ANC) could not be stopped or defeated despite mass murders, assassinations, and unspeakable cruelty to its members and activists by the police and military.

English: Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg, Gaute...

English: Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg, Gauteng, on 13 May 1998 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

He never waived in his unshakable belief that there would be freedom. World sympathy and support was with him. The South African apartheid government, civil society and sports organizations were banned and isolated worldwide. It was a great shame to be a white South African who did not support Mandela and the ANC and their desire for freedom and democracy. But those white South African people who did support him were very brave indeed. And there were many.

The most famous, difficult and wise change of his policy was to renounce violence in favour of negotiations that would lead to a recognition of his political movement and party, the ANC and free elections. That was his strongest card and he played it well. He negotiated as a statesman and astute politician while still a prisoner.

He promised the minority government that despite the denial of almost every human right to his people, he would respect their human rights. Despite their unspeakable atrocities, many murders and cruelty, there would be no retaliation, no bloodbath, no vendettas or revenge killings. His firm commitment was not to exchange one bloody torturing regime for another led by him; that he denounced. His hope was to make peace and unite blacks and whites in a single nation for the future – The Rainbow Nation he dreamed of with human rights respected for all and by all.

His calm reasoning, congenial attitude, total lack of fear and unshakable integrity won over the white minority leaders. They believe him and were convinced that they could trust him to fulfill that promise and secure their future if he was ever elected.

On February 2, 1990 at the opening of parliament in Pretoria, President F.W. de Klerk announced the un-banning of all political parties including the ANC and seven days later, on the 9th February 1990, Nelson Mandela walked to freedom to a tumultuous welcome and worldwide acclaim.

He then, with others, negotiated the transition to national elections and told his supporters to throw their weapons into the sea. There was consternation at first but they revered him as their leader that they obeyed. Not all welcomed this change but it was the turning point on the road to democratic elections.

In 1991, he was elected president of the ANC and with 17 other political parties, participated in forging a draft constitution to end apartheid and open the way to national elections. His dream was now a reality.

In 1994, he glacially agreed to share the Nobel Peace Prize with his once deadly foe F.W. de Klerk, for ending apartheid. The ANC won and Nelson Mandela was elected the first black president. The military and police generals covered in medals and ribbons that had condemned him as a terrorist and hounded and killed his followers were there, ironically to shake his hand and pledge allegiance.

The monumental task to unite the people and fight poverty began. Despite racial tension, he worked at it for six years and then at the end of his term to the surprise of all, he stepped down. He became a global icon for the defense of human rights, dignity and racial equality. Despite his advanced age, he toured the world bringing peace and hope to millions who are suffering from human rights violations and oppression.

South Africa is far from healed. The South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) brought closure for some. If the killers and torturers on both sides confessed their crimes in public, they would not be punished. It’s not near over. Progress has been made but poverty and inequality has not greatly changed yet there is a nation at peace and a long way yet to go for the rainbow nation that Nelson Mandela did most to bring about – an impossible dream made real. (shaycullen@preda.org, http://www.preda.org)

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[In the news] Amid calls for Nobel Peace Prize for Pakistani teen, UN declares: Today is ‘Malala Day’ -InterAksyon.com

Amid calls for Nobel Peace Prize for Pakistani teen, UN declares: Today is ‘Malala Day’
By Damon Wake, Agence France-Presse
November 10, 2012

ISLAMABAD – Saturday has been designated “Malala Day” by the United Nations, with demonstrations and vigils expected around the world to show support for Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai and call for girls’ education.

More than a million people have signed a global petition supporting Malala Yousafzai, UN envoy Gordon Brown said Friday, amid calls for her to be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

The 15-year-old who narrowly escaped death when she was shot in the head by Taliban militants a month ago for the “crime” of promoting girls’ right to go to school has touched millions across the globe.

A separate online petition calling for her to be put forward for the Nobel has attracted nearly 90,000 signatures and campaigners urged British Prime Minister David Cameron to recommend her for the award.

Read full article @ www.interaksyon.com

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JUNE CARIDAD C. PAGADUAN-LOPEZ, MD -Candidate for election as a member of the UN Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture (SPT)


Candidate for election as a member of the UN Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture (SPT)

Mrs. June Caridad Pagaduan-Lopez, MD, recognized expert in psychosocial trauma management and a member of the University of the Philippines Faculty Medicine since 1980, has been involved in human rights work and rehabilitation of torture survivors and their relatives for more than three decades.

Dr. Lopez is a founding member of the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (IRCT) where she served as a member of the board and regional vice-president for Asia and the Medical Action Group (MAG), a non-government organization and known to be service-provider of medical and psychosocial support to victims of human rights violations in the Philippines. She has conducted trainings on the detection, management and rehabilitation of torture victims and other survivors of political violence in the Philippines, East Timor, Nepal, India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Burma, Cambodia and Kosovo.

For many years, Dr. Lopez has also ventured into issues concerning women’s rights, especially violence against women, and in particular, the special needs of women who have experienced sexual violence as a result of war. She is also known as an authority on the campaign against domestic violence.

As a renowned expert in gender and psychosocial trauma management, Dr. Lopez has done researches and published books related to human rights, political violence including torture, and violence against women. She also serves as a technical expert on Mental Health and Sexual Violence and as a member of the Sexual Violence Research Initiative of the World Health Organization (WHO).

All these attest to her capabilities and outstanding commitment in linking her profession as a psychiatrist to the promotion and defense of human rights particularly the prevention of torture and rehabilitation of torture survivors not only in the Philippines but worldwide.

She was one of the 1000 Peace Women nominated to the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005.

Key messages on Dr. Lopez candidacy to the SPT

On April 17, 2012, the Philippines became the 63rd State Party to the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT).

At the implementation of the OPCAT, both international and national levels, working on legal or institutional reform, on preventative visits, on improving access to justice, on initiatives in support of torture survivors and their families, are all worthwhile, but real implementation will require the combined efforts of various experts in this field who should be included in torture prevention initiatives.

Dr. Lopez proven long-standing expertise in psychiatry and torture prevention speaks for itself. Her election to the SPT will considerably strengthen the mandate of the SPT particularly on the field of mental health rehabilitation of torture survivors taking into account proper balance in the membership of the SPT among the various fields relevant to the treatment of persons deprived of their liberty.

Dr. Lopez as a member of the SPT is relevant and fitting representation of the Asian region. Her election to the SPT will strengthen democratic governance and “equitable geographical distribution” among the members of the SPT with only two States Parties from Asia– Philippines and Kazakhstan, has been nominated to the SPT for the October 25th election.

Dr. Lopez election to the SPT is a clear indication of the confidence of the international community in the Philippines’ role “in helping spur a critical mass of ratifications” to the OPCAT by States Parties. Her election will help to stimulate and support the SPT to take gender perspectives into account in their work and is a testament in contributing to realization of “balanced gender representation” in the SPT.

Main professional activities

 30 years as undergraduate and postgraduate educator in medical school and public health school (psychiatry, organizational development, occupational and mental health)
 30 years of academic and clinical psychiatry with focus on torture and other forms of human rights violations, sexual violence and psychosocial trauma
 30 years of experience in psychiatric patient management
 Gender and health specialist through international and local consultancies
 6 years Director of Center for Gender and Women Studies (University of the Philippines-Manila)
 7 years member and resource person of the World Health Organization (WHO)
Gender Advisory Panel, WHO Headquarters, Geneva, Switzerland
 Pre and post debriefing of survivors/witnesses for the United Nations (UN) Enquiry on
Human Rights Violations in East Timor
 Legal and forensic adviser and trainer and expert witnessing on cases of violence against women
 International Faculty, (Torture Prevention and Rehabilitation) Rotary Peace Center,
Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok Thailand

List of most recent publications in the field

 Enhancing Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Capacities in Emergencies and Disasters in Mindanao- A Manual for Trainors. University of the Philippines (UP) and Department of Health, November 2009.

Click to access 28b4f62110dbea00ad076bb6848b74476e84a5d2.pdf

 Medico-Legal .and Health Services for Victims of Sexual Violence: A Situational Analysis in the Philippines Gender-Based violence in the Western Pacific Region: a hidden epidemic? (Special issue on women’s health). Geneva: World Health Organization (WHO) 2006.

Click to access ViolenceBook.pdf

 Multi-country Study on Medico-Legal Interventions for Survivors of Sexual Violence. Gender-Based Violence in the Western Pacific Region. WHO-Western Pacific Region publication. 2006 pp 114-144.
 Recipes for Healing-Gender-Sensitive Care for Women Survivors of Torture. ISIS International. 2006.
 Human Rights and Health Professionals Towards an Education Program for the Asian Region, 1997.
 Torture Survivors and Caregivers. University of the Philippines-Center for Integrative and Development Studies (UP-CIDS) and University of the Philippines (UP) Press, 1995.
 Physicians and Torture: Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices. Psychosocial Trauma Program (PST)
Quarterly University of the Philippines-Center for Integrative and Development Studies (UP-CIDS), December 1995.
 Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture Victims in the Philippines. Torture and Its Consequences (Chapter 22), (London: Cambridge University Press), 1992.

Visit and LIKE Dr. June’s FB page www.facebook.com/pages/Dr-June-Lopez-for-UN-Subcommittee-on-Prevention-of-Torture-member/399749163425339

[In the news] Pinoy nominated for Int’l Children Peace Prize -ABS-CBNnews.com

Pinoy nominated for Int’l Children Peace Prize

August 10, 2012

MANILA, Philippines – A Filipino is one of the three nominees for this year’s International Children’s Peace Prize, which is awarded by a Nobel Peace Prize winner to a child who has made a significant contribution to advocating their rights.

Kesz Valdez, 13, was recognized for helping provide the basic needs of over 10,000 street children through an organization called “Caring Children,” which he set up when he was seven years old. He grew up being abused – he was forced to scavenge at the dumpsite at age two, and sustained burns on his arms and back when he was three.

Valdez, who hails from Cavite, was then taken under the care of CNN Hero Efren Peñaflorida. In an interview with ABS-CBN News, the young teen said he is happy that their efforts to promote children’s rights are being recognized.

He believes that one does not need to reach a certain age or achieve financial success to make a difference on the lives of others.

Read full article @ www.abs-cbnnews.com

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Suu Kyi makes election debut in Myanmar

Suu Kyi makes election debut in Myanmar.

April 1, 2012

Kawhmu, Myanmar — Voting began Sunday in Myanmar elections seen as a test of the government’s budding reforms, with opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi standing for a seat in parliament for the first time.

A victory for Suu Kyi would cap a remarkable transformation for the 66-year-old icon of the pro-democracy movement, who spent most of the past 22 years locked up by the generals who ruled the country for decades.

Her National League for Democracy (NLD) party swept to a landslide election victory in 1990 but the junta never recognised the result.

Suu Kyi, who won the Nobel Peace Prize the following year, was not a candidate herself on that occasion because she was under house arrest.

Her party is contesting 44 of the 45 seats at stake in Sunday’s vote — not enough to threaten the ruling party’s majority, but a seat in parliament would give the opposition leader a chance to shape legislation for the first time.

Polling stations opened at 6:00 am (2330 GMT Saturday) and were due to close at 4:00 pm, with more than six million people eligible to vote. The results are expected within about one week, according to election officials.

Observers say the regime wants the pro-democracy leader to win a place in parliament to burnish its reform credentials and smooth the way for an easing of Western sanctions.

Read full article @ www.gmanetwork.com

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[People] The Christmas That Has Yet to Come by Fr. Shay Cullen

The Christmas That Has Yet to Come
(Fr. Shay’s columns are published in The Manila Times,
in publications in Ireland, the UK, Hong Kong, and on-line.)

Christmas is about birth, new beginnings, new life and it is a time to think about the dignity and value of our own life and others. It’s a special time to honor and help needy children. The best Christmas story is like that of the Holy Family seeking shelter from the cruel weather and the closed doors of the inn keepers. It’s the rescue of yet another abused child.

At the Preda Children’s Home, a refuge always open for abused girls, the latest arrival is a small 12 year-old child named Maria. She was traumatized, nervous and silent when she was brought in, still in shock. Now a week later she is smiling and happy to be safe and protected having escaped from her cruel sex abuser, who, tragically, is her own biological father.

Maria found the courage after a year of abuse to finally overcome fear of the threats and finally told her mother who believed her and reported it to the authorities. The father was immediately arrested, charged and jailed. For her and 53 other children, it will be a very happy Christmas at the home and for those recovered and returned safely to their homes. In the surrounding villages, we give Christmas parties and gifts and games for over 300 children.

Our thanks to all those who have donated to help us save and support these children, those rescued from brothels and pimps during the past year. You are making the world a happier place.

The birth of Jesus Christ and his message of hope is the good news that the greatest happiness is to take a stand for others in dire need and fight for the poor and those whose rights are violated. That’s a mission to protect and enhance life, to belong to a loving supportive family and community and contribute to building a way of life, based on equality, justice and dignity for all especially for the abused, oppressed and outcast.

This is why Jesus was born, lived and died. He came to rid the world of sin, not individual sin only but social sin, and to change the corrupt systems that enslave people in poverty and hardship. We are called to imitate and carry on his work.

His mission was for his time and for all time. It could have dramatically changed the world by upsetting the balance of power and ascendancy, it could have overturned the status quo and would have empowered communities to prevent the rise of tyrants and dictators or non-violently and peacefully remove them from power with prayer and fasting.

By blessing the poor, the outcasts, the landless and uplifting and declaring them rightful members of the Kingdom and by supporting those that hungered for food, justice, truth and equality, He was revolutionary. He was the messiah. When he was a baby, Herod saw him as a danger to his throne and massacred all the one year-old children just to kill him. Was not his mission to begin a spiritual and moral revolution? Perhaps it had political ramifications in the minds the authorities of the time and that’s why they killed him. His message lives on; the values he brought are universal and inspire people of all cultures, religions and nationalities.

Do we not see these very values today in the hearts and minds of those people on the steps of St. Paul’s in London, those occupying a park near Wall Street, others camping out in cities around the world? Those marching and chanting in mass protests in the Middle East and enduring torture and death do so for the same values, for freedom and justice, we are all brothers and sisters members of God’s one family.

Christianity did transform the world dramatically for a while, but it fell away for a historical period, had it continued pure and untainted there would be less greed, injustice, oppression, and fewer money moguls dominating our lives.

But change is happening these days as hundreds of thousands work for human rights and justice and sacrifice themselves in building a more peaceful and honest way of life. Witness the three brave women winners of the Nobel Peace Prize. They live with greater simplicity and happiness and are creating a more peaceful, just and happier world. The challenge for all of us is to believe that it is possible and to help make it happen. A blessed Christmas and New Year to all! Contact: preda [@] info.com.ph.