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The South korean-based prize given to activists globally, this year, goes to Anon Nampa, a human rights lawyer from his legal contribution, anti-dictatorship activisms and his call for monarchy reform.

Anon, in a duck outfit, giving a speech at the 25 November protest.

On 14 January, the May 18 Memorial Foundation, the South Korean-based foundation established to remember the spirit of democratic struggle and solidarity of the May 18 1980 officially announced Anon Nampa as the winner of its annual prize given to the human rights-related activists around the world.

The Jury has also selected the Watchdoc Documentary Maker of Indonesia as the Special Prize winner of the 2021 Gwangju Prize for
Human Rights from their contribution to human rights promotion via their film works.

Beside Anon, Jatupat Boonpattararaksa or 'Pai Daodin', human rights, political and environmental activist and Angkhana Neelapaijit, a former member of the Thai Human Rights Commission was awarded the prize in 2017 and 2006 respectively.

Below is the announcement letter:

2021 Gwangju Prize for Human Rights

Winner Announced The 2021 Gwangju Prize for Human Rights (GPHR) Jury has announced this year’s winners. The winner of the 2021 Gwangju Prize for Human Rights is Mr. Anon Nampa, an activist and a human rights lawyer in Thailand (Thai Lawyers for Human Rights/TLHR).

Since 2008, when he started his legal profession, he has offered free legal assistance to human rights and democracy activists. After the 2014 military coup d’etat , he has especially defended people who were indicted under Article 112 of the Thai Penal Code, which has been abused in order to oppress freedom of speech, punish human right activists and political critics, and also defended those who have been indicted by the military court for their struggles for freedom of assembly, association, and speech.

In 2014, he co-founded a prodemocracy activist group, Resistant Citizen, to empower people to challenge the undemocratic, authoritarian regime and to raise public awareness about human rights. He was also one of leading figures of the movement We Want an Election in 2018.

Also, he has struggled to promote people’s awareness about human rights violations caused by martial law and military rule. His speech on demanding restructuring the Thai monarchy system and establishing a greater democracy that was delivered at a massive pro-democracy rally of  Thai youth added fuel to the ongoing democratization movement.

As a result of his unrelenting activism, he has been arrested and indicted many times on charges of criminal offences, such as sedition, but he was released on bail. In spite of facing risks of being reincarcerated if he does not stop his activities, he continues his fight for justice and human rights.

The Jury has also selected the Watchdoc Documentary Maker of Indonesia as the Special Prize winner of the 2021 Gwangju Prize for Human Rights. It is a documentary film making group that was established by Indonesian journalists Andhy Panca Kurniawan and Dandhy Dwi Laksono. Since then it has produced over 200 documentary series and more than 700 TV series on the themes of human rights, democracy, rule of law, environment, women, minority groups, and history. Its productions are viewed freely by public and have been used for campaigns and education by many human rights organizations and schools, making a great contribution to human rights promotion.

Assuming the trailblazer’s role in promoting human rights through culture and arts, works of the Watchdoc Documentary Maker were awarded by many international film festivals, such as CinemAsia Film Festival in Amsterdam and International Anti-Corruption East Asia Documentary Film Festival in Brazil.

The 2021 GPHR Selection Committee believed that the May 18 Spirit is realized through the actions of Mr. Anon Nampa and the Watchdoc Documentary Maker. It highly appreciates the actions of Mr. Anon Nampa who has relentlessly fought against dictatorial governments regardless of physical threats and the activities of the Watchdoc Documentary Maker that has inspired world citizens with their film making.

The May 18 Memorial Foundation believes that today’s decisions will serve as a momentum to secure the solidarity between world citizens towards the development of democracy and the expansion of human rights.

January 14, 2021

2020 Gwangju Prize for Human Rights Jury Members (In alphabetical order)

Chief: Moon, Kyoo-hyun (Chair / People for Peace and Reunification)

Members: Kang, Seong-gu (Vice Chairman / Korea Democracy Foundation)

Kim, Jeong-ho (Lawyer / IUS Law Firm)

Song, Soh-yon (Secretary-General / NHRC of Korea)

Oh, Heung Sook (Representative / Busan Lifeline)

Youn, Yeong-duk (Lawmaker / The Democratic Party)

Lee, Cheol-woo (Chairman / The May 18 Memorial Foundation)

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