Press Release

10 December 2009

UNFPA Honoured with Human Rights Award

UNITED NATIONS, New York — UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, warmly welcomes the human rights award presented today by the United Nations Association of the National Capital Area (UNA-NCA) to UNFPA Executive Director Thoraya Ahmed Obaid. The Louis B. Sohn Human Rights Award, established in 1997, is given annually to individuals for substantial contributions to human rights.

“I am delighted to learn that the United Nations Association of the National Capital Area has chosen Thoraya Obaid as the recipient of its 2009 Louis B. Sohn Human Rights Award,” said United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. “Thoraya Obaid has been a tireless champion of women’s human and reproductive rights. Throughout her career, she has been fearless in breaking down barriers and challenging stereotypes. Under her leadership, the United Nations Population Fund has played a major role in promoting maternal health and women's empowerment, and campaigns against female genital mutilation and fistula have achieved global resonance. I congratulate Thoraya Obaid, and I commend the UNA-NCA on their choice.”

Ms. Obaid’s selection for this year’s award, according to UNA-NCA, “is an appropriate way to highlight her human rights achievements and her deep commitment to the belief that women's rights are human rights. Ms. Obaid has spoken out forcefully in all regions for an end to discrimination and violence against women and girls and for respect for their full human rights, including the right to sexual and reproductive health and has been successful in engaging new partners worldwide in the quest for women's empowerment and gender equality.”

“I am deeply honoured, and humbled, by this prestigious award,” said Ms. Obaid. “What makes it more significant for me is that I am receiving it on Human Rights Day. Such an honour will only make me, and UNFPA, more committed to promoting the human rights of women and girls who still face gender discrimination and violence, to advancing their empowerment and gender equality and to ensuring universal access to reproductive health.”

“Ms. Obaid’s leadership has been an inspiration to so many of us who recognize reproductive rights as human rights,” said Karen Mulhauser, president of UNA-NCA, which is one of the oldest and largest divisions of the United Nations Association of the USA.

The award was presented to Ms. Obaid during a ceremony held on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. The event is organized in partnership with The District of Columbia Office of Human Rights and the D.C. Commission on Human Rights, which seeks to eradicate discrimination, increase equal opportunity, and protect human rights in Washington, D.C.


Contact Information:

Abubakar Dungus
Tel: +1212 297 5031
dungus@unfpa.org

Sarah Craven
Tel: +1202 326 8713
craven@unfpa.org