Guatemalan Human Rights Activist Rosalina Tuyuc Receives 29th Niwano Peace Prize

AsiaNet 49277

TOKYO, May 10 (ANTARA/Kyodo JBN-AsiaNet) --

     The Niwano Peace Foundation awarded the 29th Niwano Peace Prize to Ms. Rosalina Tuyuc Velasquez of Guatemala on May 10 in recognition of her extraordinary and dogged work for peace as a courageous human rights activist and leader.

     Ms. Tuyuc received an award certificate, a medal and a cash prize of 20 million yen at a ceremony held in Tokyo.

     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.

     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 peace and justice to her country.

     In her acceptance speech, Ms. Tuyuc said she "will carry the responsibility to continue contributing to the development of a culture of peace, to promote with more energy respect for life and the human rights of a people who want to be respected for who we are."

     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.

     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