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07 December 2017
Press Release: Human Rights Awards

December 5, 2017           
Andrew Doll, Programs and Membership Manager, UNA-NCA
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United Nations Association of the National Capital Area will host Human Rights Awards Reception at National Education Association in honor of the 69th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Washington chapter of historic NGO to recognize four human rights advocates

Washington, D.C. – 5 December 2017 – The United Nations Association of the National Capital Area (UNA-NCA) is pleased to announce that it will commemorate International Human Rights Day on Thursday, December 7, 2017 with its Annual Human Rights Awards Reception from 5:15-8:00 pm EST at the National Education Association. UNA-NCA will recognize the outstanding work that individuals are doing to improve human rights in their communities and around the world.

At this event, three extraordinary individuals will receive the chapter’s highest awards: His Excellency Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, will be presented with the UNA-NCA Louis B. Sohn Award by Felice Gaer, Director of AJC’s Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights and former UNA-NCA Louis B. Sohn award winner.

  • “When the fundamental principles of human rights are not protected, the centre of our institution no longer holds. It is they that promote development that is sustainable; peace that is secure; and lives of dignity.” – His Excellency Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein

Nancy Rivard, Founder and President of Airline Ambassadors, Inc., will receive the UNA-NCA Perdita Huston Human Rights Award presented by Annette Lantos, Jr., daughter of former UNA-NCA Louis B. Sohn Human Rights Award honorees Representative Tom and Mrs. Annette Lantos.

  • “We have to "walk our talk"- have the courage to speak out for injustices we see in our own neighborhood, or, as a flight attendant, to report a potential trafficking case on an airplane. Many individuals, governments and companies think it is easier to close our eyes, and not get involved, not make waves, but in the long run that does not serve us, or our world. As the late Tom Lantos said "The veneer of civilization is paper thin, we are its guardians, and we can never rest.”

Ambassador Keith Harper (ret.), former U.S. Representative to the UN Human Rights Council, will be presented with the UNA-NCA F. Allen “Tex” Harris Diplomacy Award by Ambassador Jorge Lomonaco, Representative of Mexico to the Organization of American States.

  • “...Human rights must be real on the ground and close to home. If freedom of the press or freedoms of speech, assembly, and association are under threat “close to home,” it makes it far more challenging—perhaps impossible—to effectively promote these and other rights globally. One of the things that should hearten us over the last year is the engagement of Americans in all levels whenever there has been a threat to our shared values or the undermining of our national norms. This is precisely the reaction we should have.” Keith Harper

UNA-NCA will also present its Distinguished Community Human Rights Award to Bread for the City, a nationally recognized agency serving all low-income residents in Washington, DC. This award will be accepted by George Jones, Chief Executive Officer of Bread for the City, presented by District of Columbia Councilmember Trayon White , Jr., representing Washington, DC’s 8th Ward.

  • Justice starts at home. When you are talking about Bread for the City and our own policies and services, it all comes down to having a real meaning and authenticity around justice and equity.  If we don’t have that, we don’t have the right to go to DC City Council and speak to them about justice and equity, and the same happens nationally with the federal government. Justice has to be prioritized at home, if you are going to talk to the city and the rest of the world about how values of justice and human rights should lead modern societies, if we want to be seen as the beacon of change, we have to walk the walk and not just talk the talk.” George Jones

This program is supported by the following institutional sponsors: Airschott, Bread for the City, EOS Capital Advisors, Gregory-Bradley & Associates, Human Rights First, Jacob Blaustein Institute, Jordanian-American Association of DC, Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton, LLP, National Education Association, Northern Trust, SDK Foundation for Human Dignity, and the UN Federal Credit Union.

Please visit the event page to learn more and register for this event. This is a ticketed event, open to the general public.

Established in 1952, the United Nations Association of the National Capital Area (UNA-NCA) is one of the oldest and largest chapters of the United Nations Association of the USA (UNA-USA) serving members in Maryland, Northern Virginia, and the District of Columbia. UNA-NCA works to build public knowledge, to strengthen US-UN relations, and to aid the UN in achieving its goals.