Sign-on Letter

Sign-on Letter

1 de Marzo, 2012
Versión para impresoraVersión para impresoraEmailEmail

Over 70 African and international civil society organizations and concerned individuals signed a letter to the UNESCO Executive Board calling for the cancellation of the UNESCO-Obiang Prize and stronger rules for future prizes. 

Dear Members of the Executive Board:

We, the undersigned civil society organizations and concerned individuals, urge you to cancel the UNESCO Obiang Nguema Mbasogo International Prize for Research in the Life Sciences at the upcoming Executive Board meeting, February 27 – March 10.

We understand that President Obiang has proposed that the prize be renamed the “Equatorial Guinea-UNESCO Prize for Research in the Life Sciences.” Any such name change, however, fails to address fundamental issues with the prize; namely, concerns that it may be financed with funds illicitly derived from misuse of the country’s natural resource wealth and that it unjustifiably associates UNESCO’s name and mission with a government that, under President Obiang’s leadership, has contravened core human rights principles at the heart of UNESCO’s mandate.

Recent events underscore our concern. President Obiang and members of his family are the subjects of ongoing corruption investigations in France, Spain and the United States. On February 14, 2012, French authorities searched a Paris residence belonging to the Obiang family and seized two truckloads of luxury goods worth millions of dollars belonging to President Obiang’s son, Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, as part of an ongoing investigation into corruption and money laundering. This followed a September 28, 2011, raid in which French police seized 11 luxury cars from the same residence. In October 2011, the U.S. Department of Justice filed two claims to seize more than US$70 million in assets belonging to that same son. The complaints document numerous examples of alleged embezzlement, extortion, and misappropriation of public funds by Equatoguinean government officials for personal enrichment.

UNESCO’s mission encompasses "the eradication of poverty […] through education, the sciences, culture, communication and information.” It is deeply troubling that President Obiang and his family enjoy luxurious lifestyles that, according to these foreign investigations, are financed by corruption at the same time that most Equatoguineans live without reliable electricity, affordable healthcare, and quality education. Given this reality, and credible concerns about the source of the prize money, UNESCO should never have accepted the funds provided by President Obiang. Especially in view of recent developments, UNESCO must not make use of those funds unless it can first firmly and publicly establish that they are not the proceeds of corruption and, secondly, arrange for the funds to be spent to address urgent social needs inside Equatorial Guinea, with appropriate monitoring and safeguards.

In sum, we urge you to abolish the prize and to encourage President Obiang to use the $3 million endowment to instead improve the lives of Equatoguineans. We also feel it is essential that UNESCO put into place rules that prevent awards such as these from being considered in the future.

Yours sincerely,

International Federation for Human Rights-FIDH

(International)

 

Carlos Cardoso, Ph.D.

Head Research Programme, Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA) (International)

 

Farai Maguwu

Director, Center for Research and Development

(Zimbabwe)

 

 

Gabriel Shumba

Executive Director, Zimbabwe Exiles Forum

(South Africa)

 

Professor Oumar Ndongo

General Secretary, West African Civil Society Forum

(Nigeria)

 

Maurice Carney

Executive Director, Friends of the Congo

(United States)

 

Winfred Ngabiirwe

Executive Director, Global Rights Alert

Chairperson, Publish What You Pay Uganda

(Uganda)

 

Rev. David Ugolor

Executive Director, Africa Network for Economic and Environmental Justice

(Nigeria)

 

Chals Wotenwe

Country Director, IBIS West Africa

(Ghana)

 

Bubelwa Kaiza

Executive Director, Concern for Development Initiatives in Africa

Coordinator, Publish What You Pay-Tanzania

(Tanzania)

 

Phiroshaw Camay

Director, Co-operative for Research and Education

(South Africa)

 

Maurice Ouma Odhiambo

Executive Director, Jamaa Resource Initiatives

(Kenya)

 

Nunu Kidane

Executive Director, Priority Africa Network

(United States)

 

Firoze Manji

Editor in chief, Pambazuka News

(International)

 

Dickens Kamugisha

Executive Director, Africa Institute for Energy Governance

(Uganda)

 

Wong Kai Shing

Executive Director, Asian Legal Resource Center

(Hong Kong)

 

Valnora Edwin

Campaign for Good Governance

(Sierra Leone)

 

Moses Mkandawire

Director, Church and Society Programme of the CCAP Synod of Livingstonia

(Malawi)

 

Community Education Computer Society

(South Africa)

 

Undule Mwakasungula

Executive Director, Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation

(Malawi)

 

Emira Woods

Co-Director, Foreign Policy in Focus

(United States)

 

Prof. Chris Maina Peter

Chairperson of the Board, Zanzibar Legal Services Centre

(Tanzania)

 

Maud Perdriel-Vaissiere

Director, Association Sherpa

(France)

 

Lewis Gordon

Executive Director, Environmental Defender Law Center

(United States)

 

Johannesburg Refugee Network

(South Africa)

 

Clement P. Mavungu

Legal Officer, Africa Programme of the International Commission of Justice

(International)

 

John Devitt

Chief Executive, Transparency International Ireland

(Ireland)

 

Norman Tjombe

Partner, Tjombe-Elago Law Firm Inc.

(Namibia)

 

Amilcar Andela

Vice President, Mozambican Human Rights League

(Mozambique)

 

El Dorado Park Women’s Forum

(South Africa)

 

Babatunde Oluajo

National Secretary, Zero Corruption Coalition Nigeria

(Nigeria)

 

Abu A. Brima

Executive Director, Network Movement for Justice and Development

(Sierra Leone)

 

Robert Ilunga Numbi

Executive Director, Les Amis de Nelson Mandela pour la Défense des Droits Humains

(Democratic Republic of Congo)

 

Gustavo Gallón Giraldo

Director, Comisión Colombiana de Juristas

(Colombia)

 

Luísa Teotónio Pereira

Board Member, Centro de Intervenção para o Desenvolvimento Amílcar Cabral

(Portugal)

 

Network Against Child Labour

(South Africa)

 

Ka Hsaw Wa

Founder and Executive Director, EarthRights International

(Thailand and United States)

 

Hugo Castelli

Comisión de Movimientos Sociales, Cristianos de Base de Madrid

(Spain)

 

Egghead Odewale

Blogger

(Nigeria)

 

Dr. Enenge A’bodjedi, M.D.

Physician

(Equatorial Guinea)

 

Miguel Eson Eman, D.N.I.

Political Asylee

(Equatorial Guinea)

 

Humberto Riochi Bobuiche

Sociologist and Freelance

(Equatorial Guinea)

 

Abaga Edu Okue

Organized Crime Investigator

(Equatorial Guinea)

 

Hannah Appel

Postdoctoral Fellow in the Committee on Global Thought

Columbia University

(United States)

 

Simon R. Doubleday, Ph.D.

Professor of History

Hofstra University

(United States)

 

Michael Ugarte, Ph. D.

Professor of Spanish Literature

University of Missouri

(United States)

 

Antoon De Baets

Historian

University of Groningen

(The Netherlands)

 

Eileen Julien

Professor, Comparative Literature, French & Italian, African Studies

Indiana University

(United States)

 

Arlindo Manuel C. S. Caldeira

Historian

(Portugal)

 

Irv Epstein, Ph.D.

Associate Dean of the Faculty

Professor of Educational Studies

Illinois Wesleyan University

(United States)

 

Fernando Machado Silva, Ph.D.

Research Fellow, Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia

Center of Philosophy, Universidade de Lisboa

(Portugal)

 

Juanita Olaya

Consultant

(Germany)

 

Marvin W. Makinen

Professor of Biochemistry & Molecular Biophysics

The University of Chicago

(United States)

 

Dr. Adam Lifshey

Associate Professor

Georgetown University

(United States)

 

Dr. Angela Stuesse

Assistant Professor

University of South Florida

(United States)

 

Agustín Velloso Santisteban, Ph.D.

Professor

Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia

(Spain)

 

Yolanda Aixelà Cabré

Tenured Scientist

Spanish Council for Scientific Research

(Spain)

 

Dr. Daniel Bach

Research Director, Africa Division – Political Science

Université de Bordeaux

(France)

 

Federico Sanz Díaz

Professor of History

Universidad de Burgos

(Spain)

 

Francesc de Carreras

Professor of Constitutional Law

Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona

(Spain)

 

Christine Sommer

Researcher

Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Human Rights

(Austria)

 

Dolores López Fernández

Coordinator, Centre d'Estudis Africans

(Spain)

 

Xavier Montanyà

Journalist

(Spain)

 

Andrew Feinstein

Former ANC MP and anti-corruption author

(United Kingdom)

 

Elizabeth Dietel

Senior Partner, Dietel Partners

(United States)

 

Dr. Araceli Mangas Martín

Professor of International Public Law

Universidad Complutense de Madrid

(Spain)

 

Kobby Essien, Ph.D.

Scientific Computing Analyst

(United States)

 

Jesús Crespo Redondo

Geographer

(Spain)

 

Deidre Helen Crumbley, Ph.D.

Professor of African Studies

North Carolina State University

(United States)

 

Mischa G. Hendel

Department of African Studies

Universitaet Wien

(Austria)

 

Alicia Campos Serrano

Research Director, African Studies Group

Universidad Autónoma de Madrid

(Spain)

 

Thomas Buntru

International Program Director

Universidad de Monterrey

(Mexico)

 

Ana Lúcia Sá

Researcher, Center for African Studies

ISCTE-Instituto Universitário de Lisboa

(Portugal)

 

Dr. Julia Kozma, LL.M

Austrian Member of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture

Researcher, Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Human Rights

(Austria)

 

Virgínia Fons Renaudon

Tenured Professor of Anthropology

Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

(Spain)

 

José Manuel Pedrosa Bartolomé

Professor of Literature

Universidad de Alcalá

(Spain)

EG JUSTICE - es una organización registrada de acuerdo al codigo 501(c)(3).
P.O. Box 57297 Washington, DC 20037 1 (202) 643 4345  Derechos de Autor © 2010 EG Justice, todos los derechos reservados.