South Africa based Africa Diaspora Forum wins 2016 “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity” Human Rights Prize [fr]
The Africa Diaspora Forum on Thursday 15 December 2016 received the 2016 “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity” Human Rights Prize of the French Republic, awarded by the Prime Minister of the French Government.
The prize is awarded to non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and individual candidates, regardless of nationality and borders, for a field initiative or project implemented in France or abroad to protect and promote human rights in the spirit of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The prize is awarded to projects demonstrating innovative, concrete action that seeks to offer practical solutions to the problems facing migrants. Projects can also focus on better documenting violations of migrants’ rights throughout their journey and encouraging national authorities to reform their legislation and policies through advocacy work.
The prize was focused on two fields this year:
- Defending and protecting migrants
- Representing and defending the rights of disabled people under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
The Africa Diaspora Forum is one of the winners selected from 182 entries from 64 different countries. They were selected as one of five winners in the category “Defending and Protecting Migrants”.
Mr. Marc Gbaffou, Chairman of the Africa Diaspora Forum, received the prize in Paris from French Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, Mr. Jean-Marc Ayrault and Chairperson of the French National Consultative Commission on Human Rights, Ms. Christine Lazerges.
- About the Africa Diaspora Forum:
Africa Diaspora Forum, an umbrella body of African migrant organisations, started its activities in 2008 when South Africa suffered violent xenophobic attacks. Their first actions were based in Yeoville in Johannesburg - where the strong networks and the cultural diversity brought by migrants limited the violence against foreigners.
Since 2010, Africa Diaspora Forum has worked with South African institutions at national, provincial and local level to promote social cohesion and the integration of all African communities, and to resist practices that fuel xenophobic exclusion and violence. In their social cohesion programme launched Gauteng’s townships, their coordinators from Somalia, DRC, South Africa, Cameroon facilitate and develop collaborations and mutual exchanges between South Africans and non-South African residents.
In 2014, African Diaspora Forum hosted the Global Forum on Migration and Development, bringing this vital platform for discussion and policy formation to South Africa.
- The Embassy and the Africa Diaspora Forum:
In South Africa, France supports civil society organisations through the Civil Society Development Fund. This fund is a financial channel for small-scale projects that can contribute to the enhancement of human rights and the strengthening of local democracy.
Since 2013, more than 20 organisations have benefitted from the funds. The Africa Diaspora Forum benefitted from the fund in 2015 for their project “Social Cohesion in South Africa” implemented in Gauteng townships (Kathlehong, Alexandra, Orange Farm, Diepsloot, Soweto as well as Yeoville and Hillbrow).
- France and migration issues:
Migrants all around the world, their families, and those working alongside, with and for them, are experiencing extremely turbulent times today. Because of violent conflicts, natural disasters, chronic poverty and inequality, the world is currently experiencing the largest displacement of people since the Second World War. Those who migrate are often confronted with extreme and violent conditions - putting their lives at risk. Often, once arrived, they feel rejected by the host society and fall victim to racism and xenophobia.
It is therefore central to seek new solutions and responses, and to support, protect and advocate for migrants and refugees. This raises the commitment of the international community and of civil society platforms. Within these contexts, the role of civil society and local organisations is fundamental when it comes to participation and mobilisation in order to support social cohesion, social and political change and inclusive development.
France believes that civil society organisations are key partners of governmental instances, and wishes to strengthen quality dialogue between civil societies and public authorities on the development and implementation of public policies.
- For more information and to apply for next year, click here.