Press release April 19, 2017
Freedom House Announces Winners of Six Human Rights Awards
Freedom House is proud to announce Luis Almagro, Secretary General of the Organization of American States, as the recipient of the organization’s Freedom Award in recognition of his work on behalf Venezuelan political prisoners.
In lead up to its 2017 Annual Awards Dinner, Freedom House today announced Luis Almagro, Secretary General of the Organization of American States, as the recipient of the organization’s Freedom Award in recognition of his work on behalf Venezuelan political prisoners.
Freedom House also named both House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senator Lindsey Graham as the recipients of its Leadership Award. LexisNexis will receive the organization’s Corporate Leadership Award in recognition of their commitment to the advancement of the rule of law; the award will be accepted by Chief Executive Officer Michael Walsh. Clothier H&M will also receive a Corporate Leadership Award for their leadership in advancing global supply chain transparency; the Chairman of H&M, Stefan Persson, will be accepting the award on behalf of the company. For his advocacy on behalf of the Tibetan people, actor and activist Richard Gere will be receiving the organization’s Raising Awareness Award.
The honorees will receive the awards at Freedom House’s 2017 Annual Awards Dinner on April 27 at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.
Luis Almagro, recipient of the Freedom Award, has become a regional leader in responding to the crisis in Venezuela, where the regime-controlled Supreme Court last month tried to dissolve the National Assembly, more than 100 political prisoners remain behind bars, and protests demanding elections and a return to democratic rule have turned violent. While many leaders in the Americas had previously chosen to ignore the country’s glaring lack of democracy, the OAS, under Mr. Almagro’s leadership, has turned its attention to the Maduro regime’s repressive government. Chief among Mr. Almagro’s demands is for Venezuela to release its unjustly held political prisoners.
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, co-recipient of the Leadership Award, has spent a career advocating for those around the world deprived of fundamental freedoms. Her efforts to promote human rights and religious freedom in China, support of the Tibetan people, and insistence on a U.S. foreign policy that promotes the basic rights of people everywhere, are just some of the examples of Leader Pelosi’s commitment to political and civil rights, both in the U.S. and abroad.
Recipient of the Leadership Award, Senator Lindsey Graham, has continually shown himself a steadfast champion of democratic ideals throughout his career. By promoting and defending a robust foreign affairs budget and championing policies that address injustice, he has demonstrated his support for those who struggle under repressive regimes and lack fundamental freedoms. His defense of democratic ideals here at home can be seen in his castigation of foreign interference in U.S. elections and sounding the alarm on domestic vilification of the press and judiciary.
For having the protection and strengthening of the global rule of law at the very core of its mission, Corporate Leadership Award winner LexisNexis has earnestly supported its belief that the rule of law is essential to any society that genuinely respects the rights and liberties of its citizens and wishes to safeguard equality. Their creation and implementation of wide variety of programs and services all over the world — programs that assist civil society, support independent judiciaries, and provide guidance on the advancement of the rule of law — has made LexisNexis unique in their efforts and an exemplary model for other corporations to emulate.
H&M, co-recipient of the Corporate Leadership Award, was among the earliest adopters of the UN Guiding Principles on Human Rights, one of the first global fashion companies to make its supplier factory list public, and the first to disclose the names of its second-tier suppliers. Its principled corporate policies not only strongly incorporate international human rights standards but, as one of the world’s largest producers of clothing, their actions carry exceptional weight that set an example for the fashion industry.
Richard Gere, recipient of the Raising Awareness Award, has devoted more than thirty years to human rights activism, much of that on behalf of the people of Tibet. His untiring advocacy has singularly influenced U.S. policy in regard to Tibet, impacted international attitudes toward the Tibetan struggle, and educated the public worldwide on the hardships endured by the Tibetan people. His exceptional activism and powerful advocacy has impacted and inspired people the world over.
Freedom House would like to thank the following generous sponsors
Andrew and Laura Heery Prozes l Jeffrey Hirshberg and Frann Lichtenstein l Olin and Nadine Wethington l Goli, Darius & Sherwin Ameri l AT&T
David Fogel l Ford Motor Company l Rebecca Haile l The Honorable Richard and Faith Morningstar
Maurice A. Perkins & the American Council of Life Insurers l Neoway l Mason Slaine l The Walt Disney Company l Will and Judy Taft