Guatemalan Human Rights Activist Rosalina Tuyuc to Receive 29th Niwano Peace Prize

AsiaNet 48507

TOKYO, Feb. 29 (ANTARA/Kyodo JBN-AsiaNet) --

     The Niwano Peace Foundation will award the 29th Niwano Peace Prize to Ms. Rosalina Tuyuc Velasquez of Guatemala in recognition of her extraordinary and dogged work for peace as a courageous human rights activist and leader.

     An award presentation ceremony will take place in Tokyo on May 10. In addition to an award certificate, Ms. Tuyuc will receive a medal and 20 million yen.

     This is the first time that a practitioner of an indigenous religious tradition (Mayan beliefs and spiritual practices) has been awarded this prize. Ms. Tuyuc lives and works in Guatemala, a country that has for many decades suffered extraordinary violence and internal strife. In 1988, together with other women, Ms. Tuyuc founded the National Coordinating Organization of Widows of Guatemala (CONAVIGUA), now a leading Guatemalan human rights organization that pioneers a new form of peaceful resistance. CONAVIGUA is a symbol both of the struggle against violence and the Mayan people's resistance to it.

     In selecting Ms. Tuyuc as an awardee for 2012, the Peace Prize Committee said she is "an inspiring example of how victims of discrimination, drawing on their faith, are empowered by working together to defeat human rights violations and reverse the causes that have hurt them so deeply." The committee also praised her work to develop constructive, peaceful ways to bring Guatemala's long internal war to an end and to bring peace and justice to her country.

     Niwano Peace Prize:
     The Niwano Peace Prize was established in 1983 to honor and encourage individuals and organizations that have contributed significantly to inter-religious understanding and cooperation, thereby furthering the cause of world peace. To avoid undue emphasis on any particular religion or region, nominations are solicited from some 700 people and organizations, representing 125 countries. The prize is named in honor of the founder and first president of the lay Buddhist organization Rissho Kosei-kai, Nikkyo Niwano.

     Niwano Peace Foundation:
     The Niwano Peace Foundation was chartered in 1978 to contribute to the realization of world peace and the enhancement of a culture of peace. The foundation promotes research and other activities based on a religious spirit, and serves the cause of peace in such fields as education, science, religion and philosophy.

     Source: Niwano Peace Foundation

     (Mr.) Tadashi Takatani
     Niwano Peace Foundation
     Tel: +81-3-3226-4371
     Fax: +81-3-3226-1835