Leo Nevas Human Rights Award Announced

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Kati Marton, journalist and human rights advocate, receives 2011 honor

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Kati Marton has been at the forefront of efforts to defend press freedom and the rights of journalists, and she has been a powerful advocate for the rights of women and children.

Author, journalist and human rights advocate Kati Marton was today awarded the 2011 Leo Nevas Human Rights Award at a luncheon of the United Nations Association of the United States of America (UNA-USA) in New York City. The award is named in honor of Leo Nevas, the longest-serving board member of UNA-USA and a champion of human rights, and is given each year to an individual who has worked to promote human rights around the world. The Leo Nevas Program is a UNA-USA initiative that mobilizes existing and new resources to help the UN take a more effective role in human rights as well get the United States more involved in the UN’s efforts. As of last year, UNA-USA is a program of the United Nations Foundation.

Kati Marton has combined a career as a journalist and human rights advocate. She is currently Chair of the International Women’s Health Coalition, a global leader in promoting and protecting the health and human rights of women and girls. From 2001 to 2002 Kati Marton was Chief Advocate for the Office of the Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict at the United Nations. Marton is currently a director and formerly chair of the Committee to Protect Journalists. She also serves on the board of directors of several human rights and foreign policy organizations.

The 2011 Leo Nevas Human Rights Youth Advocate award was presented to Ryan Kaminski, who was recognized for his work to raise awareness of the United Nations and human rights mechanisms. Ryan is a student at Columbia’s School for International and Public Affairs and has been an active participant of the UNA Global Classrooms since 2006 and has led several Model UN conferences.

"In paying tribute to Kati Marton's outstanding contributions to the cause of human rights we recognize the critical role of the press and the courage exhibited by journalists in bringing human rights violations to public attention. The award to Ryan Kaminski reflects our eagerness to encourage engagement in human rights work by students. Leo Nevas, who was a steadfast champion of human rights and the UN, would be very proud to have his name associated with both honorees," said Robert Rifkind, chair of the Leo Nevas Human Rights Task Force.

Thomas Pickering, chair of UNA-USA’s Strategy Council and former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, added, “I am delighted to be here today to pay tribute to our honorees for their personal commitment to advance human rights globally in connection with the work of the UN. Kati Marton has been at the forefront of efforts to defend press freedom and the rights of journalists, and she has been a powerful advocate for the rights of women and children. Ryan, though young, as already made important contributions to raising awareness of human rights abuses.”

Leo Nevas was a true proponent of the importance of the United Nations’ principles, and his commitment made it possible to support human rights through education and advocacy – a legacy encouraging global citizenship. The award of his namesake recognizes those who have served as agents of change in advancing human rights. Past recipients of the Leo Nevas Human Rights Award include the Honorable Tom Lantos and Sheryl Wudunn for her book Half the Sky, turning oppression into opportunities for women worldwide.
Information about the UN's support for World Press Freedom can be found at http://www.unesco.org/new/en/communication-and-information/freedom-of-expression/press-freedom.

About UNA-USA Leo Nevas Task Human Rights Task Force
The UNA-USA Leo Nevas Program on Human Rights was established in 2007 based on the shared belief that human rights should be an essential component of U.S. foreign policy and that UNA should reflect this belief in the policies it advocates for the United States at the United Nations. In order to provide leadership and expertise to the program, the task force is composed of leading authorities in the field of human rights. For more information, please visit: http://www.unausa.org/policy/nevas


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