Freedom House Advocates for the Removal of Tainted UNESCO Prize | Freedom House

Freedom House Advocates for the Removal of Tainted UNESCO Prize

Freedom House recently joined Global Witness, The Center for Economic and Social Rights, EG Justice, Human Rights Watch, The Open Society Justice Initiative, and Asociación Pro Derechos Humanos de España in calling on UNESCO to cancel the UNESCO-Obiang Nguema Mbasogo International Prize for Research in the Life Sciences. The prize is named for, and funded by, President Obiang of Equatorial Guinea, whose highly corrupt regime led Freedom House to list the country as one of the world’s worst human rights abusers.
"This is money that should be benefiting the people of Equatorial Guinea, not endorsing a dictator who has trampled on their liberties and livelihoods," said Tutu Alicante, executive director of EG Justice, in the joint release.

Earlier this year, intense criticism from international media, human rights organizations, and governments, including the United States, led UNESCO to postpone the awarding of the prize. UNESCO should cancel the prize once and for all during its Oct. 5-21 UNESCO Executive Board meeting in Paris.

The prize is part of Obiang’s effort change his image, but he can’t erase the injustices he has fostered in Equatorial Guinea:
  • Equatorial Guinea is not an electoral democracy and has never held credible elections.
  • Obiang and members of his inner circle continue to amass huge personal profits from the country’s oil windfall. Meanwhile, more than 75 percent of the country’s people live in poverty.
  • The authorities have been accused of widespread human rights abuses, including torture, detention of political opponents, and extrajudicial killings
  • Constitutional and legal guarantees of equality for women are largely ignored, and violence against women is reportedly widespread.

Read more

Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.

Join us on Facebook and Twitter (freedomhouse). Stay up to date with Freedom House’s latest news and events by signing up for our newsletter.