Established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1966 and awarded every five years since, the UN Prize in the Field of Human Rights is an honorary award given to individuals and organizations in recognition of their outstanding achievements in human rights. One of the two recognized organizations this year was the Global Recognition of the Right to a Healthy Environment Coalition. QUNO Geneva was part of a core group in Geneva that focused on intensive advocacy at the Human Rights Council to recognize the human right to a healthy environment. The core group helped to develop the global coalition that has won the award. Quaker signatories include Friends World Committee for Consultation, the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), and Quaker Earthcare Witness (QEW).
For several years, QUNO worked closely with civil society and States in Geneva on the right to a healthy environment. As one of some 1000 organizations in the coalition, we celebrate this award as a recognition of what people coming together from around the world can do to help build a more healthy, sustainable, peaceful, and just world.
In a summary of reactions from the core group, Lindsey Fielder Cook, Representative for the Human Impacts of Climate Change wrote: “The Universal Declaration on Human Rights in 1948 was a historic response to a devastated world. The recent recognition of a healthy environment as a human right is again an act of courage, vision, and compassion in the face of devastation. We - people from around the world - bear witness to this right which protects people and nature. As Quakers, we recognise the inherent dignity and ‘that of God’ in all people, and the call to care for the earth. We thank the UN for its recognition of the critical role that Indigenous Peoples, civil society organizations, social, faith-based, and grassroots communities have played in advocating tirelessly for this right. The work of healing and restoration intensifies.”
Read more about the UN Prize in the Field of Human Rights,