(Washington Informer) African Leaders Blast UNESCO Prize Name for Despot

(Washington Informer) African Leaders Blast UNESCO Prize Name for Despot

October 21, 2010
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An article that highlights a high profile letter sent by more than 100 African scholars and human rights activists calling on UNESCO to cancel the UNESCO-Obiang Prize for the Life Sciences.

More than 100 African scholars and human rights defenders are demanding the cancellation of a UNESCO science prize named for the president of Equatorial Guinea. Citizens of Equatorial Guinea and prominent African figures, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Graça Machel, Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka, and author Chinua Achebe, said in a letter that “the continued existence of this prize is an affront to Africans everywhere who work for the betterment of our countries.”

They cited a disastrous record of serious abuses and mismanagement of the country’s wealth by the funder of the prize, President Teodoro Obiang Nguema. President Obiang seized power more than 30 years ago and has been accused of human rights violations including unlawful killings, torture, and arbitrary arrests. Obiang denies the allegations. (...)

"While Equatorial Guinea’s government has tried to characterize opposition to this prize as racist and colonialist, in fact many Africans have been vocal opponents of the prize,” said Tutu Alicante, an Equatoguinean and Executive Director of the human rights organization EG Justice.

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