The Edelstam Prize is a Sweden-based international monetary award, administrated by the Harald Edelstam Foundation. The Edelstam Prize is awarded for outstanding contributions and exceptional courage in standing up for one’s beliefs in the Defence of Human Rights.
The Edelstam Prize is named after, and awarded in the memory of, the Swedish diplomat and Ambassador, Harald Edelstam (1913-1989). Harald Edelstam distinguished himself as diplomat by his professional competence, his bravery and his civic courage in the fight for Human Rights. He was an early proponent and symbol of what is today known as the ”Responsibility to Protect” and his memorable acts contributed to save more than a thousand lives.
The winner of the Edelstam Prize can be a private person or a person who serves in Government, international or national organisations. The winner shall be an individual who has acted in Ambassador Harald Edelstam’s spirit in a country/countries where Human Rights, according to international law, have been violated.
The laureate must have shown outstanding capabilities in analysing and handling complex situations and in finding ways, even unconventional and creative ones, to defend Human Rights. The candidate has, presumably in a complex situation, been able to take a decisive role in helping threatened people or directly saving human lives. Civic courage is a central parameter in the selection of the successful candidate.
The international jury is chaired by Caroline Edelstam, Harald Edelstam’s granddaughter and co-founder of the Harald Edelstam Foundation. Justice Louise Arbour, former UN High Commissioner of Human Rights represents the North Americas, Nobel Peace Prize Winner in 2003, Judge Shirin Ebadi, represents Asia; Africa is represented by Dr. Pascoal Mocumbi, former Prime Minister of Mozambique (1994-2004). Professor Philip Alston, UN’s special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, represents Oceania. Latinamerica is represented by former President in Chile Ricardo Lagos. Europe is represented by Judge Baltasar Garzón, who served on Spain’s central criminal court and who is consistently fighting for Human Rights. Baltasar Garzón is most famous for indicating the Chilenean president, General Augusto Pinochet for the alleged deaths and torture of Spanish citizens.
The Nomination Committee
The Nomination Committee is chaired by Ambassador Jan Axel Nordlander, Sweden’s former Ambassador for Human Rights, and on the Committee is also Professor Sadiq Jalal Al-Azm, a prominent philosopher of Syrian origin striving for intellectual freedom and freedom of speech, Professor Vitit Muntarbhorn, United Nations former Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Deputy Tucapel Jiménez, member of the Chilean Chamber of Deputies’ Commission for Human Rights, Ms. Silvia Escobar, Spain’s Ambassador for Human Rights and former Chair of Amnesty Spain, and Professor Yash Gai, scholar within constitutional law and the head of the Constitution Advisory Support Unit of the United Nations Development Programme in Nepal and former Special Representative of the UN Secretary General in Cambodia on Human Rights. On the committee is also Mr. Lee Cheuk-yan, who is the General Secretary of the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions, and the chairman of Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China.