Chadian Activist Wins 2004 RFK Human Rights Award
For Immediate Release:
Contact: Miriam Young - 202-463-7575 ext.233, Amanda Shanor - 202-463-7575 ext.224
Washington, DC -- Ms. Delphine Djiraibe of Chad has been selected for the 2004 Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award. Ms. Djiraibe was chosen by an international panel of distinguished judges for her tireless efforts in promoting the human rights of the Chadian people, often at great personal risk to herself and her family. Her activism began at an early age but became her professional vocation when she co-founded and served as President of the Chadian Association for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights (ATPDDH). One of only two such organizations at the time in Chad, the ATPDDH was founded in response to the violence and widespread disregard for the human rights of the Chadian people surrounding the 1990 coup led by current Chadian President Idriss Deby.
Ms. Djiraibe is being recognized for her work on the Chad/Cameroon Oil and Pipeline Project. Her multifaceted campaign encompasses fighting governmental corruption, ensuring that the Chadian people benefit from the pipeline and its resulting profits, and preventing environmental devastation resulting from its construction.
The $3.7 billion Chad/Cameroon Oil and Pipeline project is Africaís largest infrastructure investment today. The World Bank, which was critical to funding and overseeing the project, refers to the Chad/Cameroon Project as its model for poverty alleviation, environmental protection, and ìthe use of revenue for development."Ms. Djiraibe has devoted herself to ensuring that the project is subject to environmental and social standards and that the profits from the project are allocated to Chadian education, health, infrastructure, and regional development. Despite significant opposition from the government, including a public relations campaign against her, Ms. Djiraibe refuses to stop her courageous campaign"
Ms. Djiraibe helped create a coalition of Chadian civil society organizations which called on the World Bank to place a moratorium on project financing until the Chadian government provided the legal framework to protect human rights and could ensure there was adequate institutional capacity to address any environmental problems that might arise. The Bank approved the project anyway. However, due to Ms. Djiraibe's work and the international pressure exerted, the Bank took some unprecedented steps, such as insisting that the Chadian government adopt a revenue management law and establish an oversight committee to monitor the use of oil revenue funds.
Lynn Huntley, president of the Southern Education Foundation and one of the judges who chose Ms. Djiraibe, summarized her work by saying, "Helping people on the ground influence corporate policies and practices is a critically important way to foster good global corporate citizenship and safeguard against fundamental abuses of power and human rights. Ms. Djiraibe is re balancing the scales of justice."
Ms. Djiraibe will be presented with the award at the annual Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award Ceremony in Washington, DC on November 16, 2004 in the US Senateís Russell Caucus Room.
Founded in 1968, the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial works to realize Robert F. Kennedyís vision of social justice. In 1984, in order to better reflect the global nature of RFK's work, the Memorial established the Human Rights Award, and to support the Award Laureates, the Center for Human Rights (CHR). To date, the Memorial has recognized thirty five Laureates representing twenty-one different countries. For additional information, please visit www.rfkmemorial.org.