Luminaries' Letter

Luminaries' Letter

October 3, 2011
Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly versionEmailEmail

An additional 18 global luminaries have added their names to a letter sent to UNESCO, urging it to reject the UNESCO-Obiang prize.

Eighteen additional scientific, literary, and cultural leaders from around the world have added their names to a letter that urges the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to block an effort by the government of Equatorial Guinea to reinstitute a prize named for and financed by Equatorial Guinea President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo.

In a letter addressed to Irina Bokova, director-general of UNESCO, the prominent figures said they are “deeply troubled by the well-documented record of human rights abuse, repression of press freedom, and official corruption that have marked [Obiang’s] rule.”

Signatories to the letter include Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Nobel Literature Prize Laureate Jean-Marie Gustave Le Cléziofour UNESCO, Cano World Press Freedom Prize Laureates, and other noted writers and journalists. These eminent individuals, some of whom have previously expressed their opposition to this award, called for its definitive cancelation. 

The UNESCO-Obiang Nguema Mbasogo International Prize for Research in the Life Sciences was indefinitely suspended last year after a global campaign by civil society groups that was coordinated by EG Justice. The future of the prize is to be reconsidered by the governing executive board of UNESCO, which is meeting in Paris, on October 3, 2011, at the initiative of African countries. 

Click here to read the letter. 

“It is unfortunate that the time and resources expended by President Obiang to establish the prize are not directed at implementing the reforms that he regularly mentions,” said Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa, one of the signatories of the letter, in a separate opinion article published in the African press explaining his opposition to the UNESCO-Obiang prize. “President Obiang should focus his efforts on remaking Equatorial Guinea into an open, rights-respecting democracy fitting for these times.” 

EG JUSTICE - is a 501(c)(3) organization.
P.O. Box 57297 Washington, DC 20037 1 (202) 643 4345 Copyright © 2010 EG Justice, all rights reserved.