Human rights contributors to be honored at Olympics


    By Rebecca Ryser

    The Olympics won”t just be a time for honoring athletes.

    Feb. 7, 2002, at the Capitol Theatre, four individuals who have made contributions in the field of human rights will also be honored with the Reebok Human Rights Award.

    One past award recipient, Liberian Samuel Kofi Woods, was forced to escape the country for monitoring human rights in Nigeria, said Stephen Dickerman, director of the Reebok Human Rights Awards.

    Ndungi Githuku, from Kenya, also won the award for fighting for freedom of expression in rights and protests, Dickerman said.

    At age 19, Githuku was arrested and tortured for helping in a march for disappeared people.

    The Human Rights Awards are held to honor nonviolent activists who have made significant human rights contributions against great odds.

    The awards are given to help raise other heroes, Dickerman said.

    Reebok Human Rights Awards will be coming to Salt Lake City as part of the 2002 Olympic Arts Festival.

    Highlighting American art, western culture and Utah heritage, the Olympic Arts Festival will feature 15 major exhibitions, 60 performances and special events Jan. 25 and March 17, 2002.

    The Human Rights Awards were wanted as part of the Arts Festival because political idealism and political activism have been a part of the Olympic Games since 580 B.C., said Raymond T, Grant, artistic director of the 2002 Olympic Arts Festival.

    “Celebrating human rights within the context of the Olympic Games is aligned with the ideal Olympic movement,” he said.

    The Olympic movement includes programs in both education and the environment, Grant said.

    A second community activist component at the awards will address children”s access health care within the Native American and migrant workers communities, Grant said.

    With such an attention needing issue, “who better to give that attention than young people who put their lives on the line in the name of human rights,” Grant said.

    Award recipients receive $50,000 from the Reebok Human Rights Foundation for the human rights organization.

    All those attending the announcement will be invited free of charge, Dickerman said.

    Those interested in attending should put in a request by calling Reebok. Invitations will be made space permitting, Dickerman said.

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