Wednesday, November 20, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Ogata gets Indira peace prize

President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam and Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee with the recipient of the Indira Gandhi Award, Prof. Sadako Ogata
President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam (right) and Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee (left) with the recipient of the Indira Gandhi Award, Prof. Sadako Ogata, at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi on Tuesday. — PTI photo

New Delhi, November 19
President APJ Kalam today presented the Indira Gandhi International Award for Peace, Disarmament and Development,
2001, to Japanese diplomat and Human Rights activist Professor Sadako Ogata and said India should heed her message of humanism and shed differences in the name of religion, caste and haves and have-nots.

The award, which consists of Rs 33 lakh and a plaque, was given to the former UN High Commissioner for refugees at a glittering function at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

On the occasion, Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee said: “We need more international civil servants like Professor Ogata with the vision, compassion and commitment to pursue the humanitarian objective.”

Dr Kalam said Professor Ogata had been chosen for the prestigious award for alleviating the pain of millions of refugees all over the world.

“Professor Ogata has an excellent range of achievements from being an acknowledged expert on diplomatic history and international relations to having been very closely associated with the UN in the area of human rights and refugees.

She protected and assisted millions of people who have to leave the country because of war, conflict and persecution, “The President said and recalled how Fridtj of Nansen, the first UN High Commissioner for Refugees, argued that alleviating human sufferings was indeed a matter of state and not simply charity.

“Professor Ogata has addressed the question of the security of refugees in the larger contest of ‘human security’ and could enlist a number of countries in this endeavour,” he noted.

The President said the care and compassion for the downtrodden and the under-privileged which Professor Ogata had brought to bear on her work was exactly in line with the ideals of Indira Gandhi.

Mr Vajpayee said Professor Ogata guided, with sensitivity and dedication, the UN activities for the welfare, return and rehabilitation of refugees during a troubled decade. That decade saw massive human displacements in former Yugoslavia, in the central African great lakes, and also in the neighbouring Afghanistan when brutal religious extremists took control of that country.

He said India recognised moral responsibility to work for the harmonious return of all refugees to their homeland with peace, honour and security.

“This is what Palestinian refugees have been looking forward to for over half a century. The strains and tensions in West Asia today are a direct consequence of the failure of the international community in sustaining a political process to ensure this,” Mr Vajpayee said.

Complimenting Professor Ogata for her important role as Japan’s Special Envoy for Afghanistan, the Prime Minister said India had pledged $ 100 million to President Karzai’s government towards the return of economic recovery and political stability there. UNIBack

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