Members of The Elders gathered in Paris at a celebration Dec. 6 to mark the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and to honor the 30 international winners of the Internews-sponsored 'Every Human Has Rights' Media Awards.
Former US President Jimmy Carter, former Irish President Mary Robinson, former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and other members of The Elders gathered in Paris at a celebration Dec. 6 to mark the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and to honor the 30 international winners of the Internews-sponsored 'Every Human Has Rights' Media Awards. When it comes to human rights, Robinson told the gathering, "Journalists are an incredible way of carrying the message." Carter lauded the "heroes in the news media" for their role in promoting human rights. Internews organized the media awards to inspire coverage of human rights issues around the world. The awards were held in conjunction with the yearlong 'Every Human Has Rights' campaign, which was inspired by the Elders as a way of raising global awareness of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Internews received over 500 entries, with stories focusing on 108 countries; national, regional, and international juries selected 30 stories to receive the Internews 'Every Human has Rights' Media Award. Winning journalists received an all-expenses paid trip to Paris to cover the 60th anniversary events. Among these 30, seven special prizes were announced at the ceremony. These included the special "prize of the public" for "Border Stories," a series of video portraits by a Boston-based film crew about the US-Mexico border, the longest boundary between the developed and developing world. The special "public prize" was determined through online voting worldwide. At the event, the winning journalists had the rare opportunity to ask questions of Carter and Robinson. A South African reporter asked Carter about the situation in Zimbabwe, whose government recently refused entry to Carter and other Elders. Carter gave a strong comment calling for a workable government in Zimbabwe. Also present at the ceremony were musician Peter Gabriel and businessman Richard Branson, who together conceived the idea of the Elders, and journalist and author Mariane Pearl, who served on the international jury for the media awards.