African Voices Unite against the UNESCO-Obiang Prize
African Voices Unite against the UNESCO-Obiang PrizeJune 14, 2010
This weekend many African scholars, professionals, and individuals contacted UNESCO to express their opposition to the UNESCO-Obiang prize and call for its cancelation.
(Washington, DC, June 14, 1010)—This weekend many African scholars, professionals, and individuals contacted UNESCO to express their opposition to the UNESCO-Obiang prize and call for its cancelation. On Friday, Archbishop Desmond Tutu released a statement saying that he was “appalled that [UNESCO], which holds such promise, is allowing itself to burnish the unsavory reputation of a dictator,” and called on UNESCO to reconsider the prize.
Then, on Sunday, EG Justice sent a petition with nearly 250 signatories to UNESCO. The petition was signed by many citizens of Equatorial Guinea and individuals from 15 other African countries. Protest letters from various other organizations and individuals have been sent to UNESCO and include signatories by Africans from a total of 34 countries across the continent. Included among these was the letter that EG Justice sent to UNESCO in March of 2010 which was signed by dozens of Equatoguinean academics both inside the country and living in exile.
Tomorrow UNESCO’s Executive Board meets again and will discuss the future of the prize. Clear opposition from around the world, including in African, makes it ever clearer that the board should act swiftly to abolish the prize. EG Justice urges UNESCO’s Executive Board to not heed to the Government of Equatorial Guinea’s recent statement, in which it falsely labels organizations opposed to the creation of the UNESCO-Obiang prize as “racist” and “colonialist.” This is the time to show courage and side with the people of Equatorial Guinea.