(AFP) UNESCO Drops Prize Sponsored by E.Guinea's Obiang
(AFP) UNESCO Drops Prize Sponsored by E.Guinea's ObiangOctober 21, 2010
The United Nations cultural organization UNESCO bowed to pressure from anti-corruption campaigners and suspended a science prize named after Equatorial Guinea's President Teodoro Obiang Nguema.
The United Nations cultural organisation UNESCO bowed to pressure from anti-corruption campaigners on Thursday and suspended a science prize named after Equatorial Guinea's President Teodoro Obiang Nguema.
The organisation's executive board met in Paris and decided to put the award on hold "and continue consultations among all parties concerned, in a spirit of mutual respect and until a consensus is reached."
The UNESCO-Obiang Prize for the Life Sciences was created by the board in 2008, and Equatorial Guinea was to finance it for five years for a total of three million dollars (2.14 million euros).
Human rights and anti-poverty campaigners were outraged that the United Nations body would lend its support to a prize named after a leader they consider a "corrupt dictator".
"The way Teodoro Obiang has governed Equatorial Guinea undermines all the values UNESCO stands for," said Tutu Alicante, head of the pressure group EG Justice, according to a statement from Human Rights Watch.
"The suspension is a sign that the Obiang government cannot pull the wool over the eyes of the international community with empty human rights public relations campaigns. We will continue working for the prize's cancellation."