Call for Applications: 2012 Human Rights Prize of the French Republic

Please note: this opportunity closing date has passed and may not be available any more.
Opportunity closing date: 
Monday, 24 September, 2012
Opportunity type: 

The 2012 Human Rights Prize of the French Republic, ‘Liberty, Equality, Fraternity’, to be presented by the Prime Minister of the French government, is now open to applications. This prize, created in 1988, is awarded for individual or collective action on the ground, irrespective of nationality or borders, undertaken in France or abroad, with respect to one of two themes.

Non-governmental organisations (NGO), irrespective of nationality or borders, should present a field mission or project undertaken in France or abroad in 2012 concerning one of two themes.

Theme 1: The fight against impunity

Ten years after the Rome Statute entered into force, the year 2012 was marked by the first sentence passed by the International Criminal Court (ICC) and welcomed as a key development in the fight against impunity. Important rulings have been handed down by other courts, such as the Special Court for Sierra Leone and the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC). Such progress in the fight against impunity of the most serious violations of human rights should not conceal what remains to be done to combat persistent serious human rights violations.

The creation of new United Nations mechanisms for the protection of human rights, such as the mandate for a Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence, are part of the international community’s efforts to achieve an effectiveness that is as yet only too relative. They recently supplemented existing mechanisms on extrajudicial executions, enforced disappearance, arbitrary detention, independence of judges and lawyers, and on torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment, all of which issues relate to the fight against impunity. France has been combating impunity for a long time now and has made it a priority focus of its foreign policy. The aim of the Human Rights Prize of the French Republic this year is to commend the key role of civil society in the awareness and accompaniment of victims in the exercise of their rights, particularly in situations of political transition. The inalienable right to the truth, the right to justice, the right to reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence of violations are at stake.

Prize-winning projects may focus on advocacy actions aimed at publicising resources for combating impunity and training public and civil society actors; on actions for mobilisation around reforms that are crucially important to the fight against impunity; on the accompaniment of victims as part of or in parallel with judicial proceedings; and on support for transitional justice mechanisms and the compilation of archives on violations of human rights. These are not the sole avenues for action.

Theme 2: Economic and social rights and sustainable development

The Rio Declaration adopted in 1992 following the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development proposed an integrated approach to economic development, social development and environmental protection and insisted on the eradication of poverty as an indispensable requirement for sustainable development. The affirmation in the Rio Declaration that human rights are central to sustainable development has constantly guided the international community’s reflections since then.

In the run-up to the Rio+20 Conference, a number of voices were heard calling for the inclusion of international human rights standards and principles in its final document and for solid accountability mechanisms enabling their implementation. The United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights recalled the close links between social development and the rights set out in the International Covenant, and the United Nations Human Rights Council has established a new procedure for the appointment of an independent expert on the issue of human rights obligations relating to the enjoyment of a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment.

In a context of widespread poverty, environmental deterioration and climate change, and three years ahead of the deadline set for achieving the Millennium Development Goals, a vast number of organisations are mobilising in support of the right to a safe and healthy environment, the right to food, the right to drinking water supply and sanitation, the right to access to health care, the right to housing, the right to education and the right to social protection. Prize-winning projects may focus on advocacy actions in support of integrating human rights into development policies, on actions aimed at supporting the participation of populations, and on actions that fully incorporate economic, social and cultural rights and take account of the living realities of people most exposed to environmental risks and hazards.

Five prize winners will share a total award of €75 000 granted by the Prime Minister. A special mention will be conferred on the five runners-up. Applications must comply with the prize regulations. The prize regulations are available upon request, and can also be found online at

The application form in French must include:

  • An application letter presented and signed by the president or legal representative of the operating NGO;
  • An application stating in detail the aim and description of the work undertaken or project submitted. It must include a precise budget (with an equivalent sum shown, preferably in euros);
  • A presentation of the operating NGO (status, work conducted, etc.); and
  • The address and bank details of the NGO.

The candidates must send their complete application, without fail, before the deadline on 24 September 2012, to the Secrétariat Général de la Commission (35, rue Saint-Dominique, Paris 75007, France) or by e-mail to: and

Following the announcement of the winner by the jury, the 2012 Prize will be presented by the Prime Minister in a formal ceremony in Paris around 10 December 2012.

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