ASIA: Call for Nominations for the 6th Truth Foundation Human Rights Award

Call for Nominations for the 6th Truth Foundation Human Rights Award

Deadline: May 24, 2016

The Truth Foundation Human Rights Award

To commemorate the United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture held annually on June 26, the Truth Foundation grants the Truth Foundation Human Rights Award to an individual or organization from South Korea or abroad that has made a significant contribution to help and heal survivors of torture and state-sponsored violence, as well as to prevent such violence. Through the award, the Truth Foundation seeks to respect those who have endured unimaginable pain as a result of torture and state-sponsored violence and to help put an end to such violence.

Prior Recipients of the Truth Foundation Human Rights Award

The Award was established in 2011 and the first recipient was Mr. SeoSeung (1945~ , Professor of Ritsumeikan University). He was falsely accused in the ‘Korean Japanese Student Spying Case’ in 1971 and severely tortured by the South Korean security forces. After 19 years of imprisonment, Mr. Seo emerged as a tireless peace activist, especially devoting himself to the solidarity of East Asian peoples.

In 2012, the late Mr. Kim Keun Tae (1947~2011) became the second recipient of the Award. He was a pro-democracy activist against the military dictatorship during the 1980s, and was brutally tortured by the Chun Doo Hwan regime. He survived the torture and courageously revealed the reality of state-violence in Korea to the whole world. As a former member of the Korean National Assembly, he devoted himself to improving the human rights situation in Korea. Mr. Kim died in 2011 after battling illness due to the lingering aftereffects of torture.

The following year, the award went to Mr. Hong Sung Woo (1938~ ), a dedicated human rights lawyer. He bravely spoke up on behalf of political prisoners, torture victims and student activists during the military regimes in South Korea. Because of his activities, he was himself twice imprisoned by the military regime. Mr. Hong laid thecornerstone for the foundation of MINBYUN-Lawyers for a Democratic Society, which has worked tirelessly for the protection of human rights in Korea. He has also kept vast records of human rights court cases in South Korea, providing valuable material for the historical preservation of the struggle for human rights in Korea.

The 4th recipient in 2014 was the late U Win Tin (1930~2014) from the Hanthawaddy U Win Tin Foundation. During the 88 Uprising in Burma in 1988, he expressed his strong opposition to the military dictatorship as the vice chair of the Press Alliance Movement. In September 1988, he co-founded the National League for Democracy (NLD) together with Aung San Suu Kyi, and organized a campaign against the military regime. After his arrest, in 1989, and subsequent severe torture, he was committed for 19 years to Insein prison, which is notorious for its inhumane conditions and brutal program of mental and physical torture. Yet the imprisonment did not diminish his will to spread his words or further the cause of democracy in Burma. He continued unceasingly to make his voice heard in Burma and in the international community such as to the UN Special Rapporteur regarding the human rights violations committed in prison and the then-situations in Burma. After his release from prison in September 2008, U Win Tin immediately continued with his NLD activities in spite of his frail health brought on by his long imprisonment and torture. In 2012, he established Hanthawaddy U Win Tin Foundation to help the rehabilitation and healing of countless Burmese political prisoners and torture victims, as well as their families. He passed away in 2014, but his spirit remains with the young generations in Burma who continue seek for democracy and peace.

The 5th recipient in 2015 was Mr. Kang Ki-hoon (1964~). He was accused of committing the crime of assisting a suicide by ghostwriting a suicide note for Kim Ki-sul, who burned himself to death condemning the then-president and government, and was sentenced three years of prison in 1991. In 2015, 24 years after the horrible accusation, Kang was finally acquitted by the Supreme Court. Kang endured the years of pain and struggles, attesting and revealing the dark abyss of the authority. His being was the motivation for those who believed in human value and respect. We also expressed our gratitude to his families and friends and their endurance which made Kang’s 24 years struggles to the acquittal.

The 6th Truth Foundation Human Rights Award Schedule

Nominations for the 6th Truth Foundation Human Rights Award will be accepted from April 20 to May 24, 2016. The Selection Committee for the Truth Foundation Human Rights Award will review the nominations by June 10, 2016. The recipient of the award will be announced on June 20 and the award will be presented on June 24, 2016 at the commemorative ceremony on United Nations Day in Support of Victims of Torture.

Qualifications for Nomination (Download Nomination Form here)

• A survivor of torture or state-sponsored violence who has contributed to the defense of human dignity.
• An individual or organization from South Korea or abroad that has worked for the prevention of torture and state-sponsored violence and/or has provided assistance and healing to survivors.

Procedure for Nominations

• Nominations are limited to one nominee per recommender (organization).
• Fill out the attached nomination form in detail and submit it together with supporting materials.
• Submitted materials will not be returned.
• The deadline for nominations is May 24, 2016 and mailed submissions that are post-marked up to the date of the deadline will be valid.
• The Truth Foundation, if it deems necessary, may ask for additional materials regarding the candidate’s work.

Composition of the Selection Committee

• The Selection Committee will be composed of more than 4 individuals from South Korea or abroad who have contributed to the prevention of torture and state-sponsored violence and the assistance and healing of survivors, and 3 Executive Directors of the Truth Foundation.

Selection Policy for the 6th Truth Foundation Human Rights Award

• The award recipient will be an individual or a single group/organization from South Korea or abroad.
• The Selection Committee will only disclose the total number of nominees and will not disclose the identity of the nominees or details of the nominations.

Award Details

• The award recipient will be presented with prize money, a medal and an award certificate.
• The award recipient will qualify to be a Selection Committee member for the following year’s Truth Foundation Human Rights Award.


April 20 Announcement of call for nominations
May 24 Deadline for nominations
May 25 ~ June 10 Review of candidates and selection of award recipient
June 20 Announcement of recipient of the 6th Truth Foundation Human
Rights Award
June 24 Award ceremony


Ms. Lee Sarang(Program Organizer)
Tel.: +82-2-741-6260
Fax: +82-303-0952-6260
Address: 5th Floor, 29-6 Changdukgoong-gil
(Wonseo-dong), Jongno-gu, Seoul, Korea
Postal Code: 03058

Please submit your nomination form and attachments by post or email written above.

About the Truth Foundation

The Truth Foundation ( was established in 2009 by ordinary South Koreans who had been tortured and imprisoned under fabricated charges of spying for communist North Korea, but whose convictions were later overturned. The reparations they received from the South Korean government became the seed money for the Foundation. In addition to activities commemorating the United Nations Day in Support of Victims of Torture, the Foundation is engaged in the following activities:


Ø Supporting the rehabilitation and treatment of torture survivors and their family members
Ø   Helping torture survivors wrongfully convicted under fabricated spying charges to obtain justice
Ø   Preventing the use of torture by monitoring compliance with treaties against torture
Ø   Promoting respect for human rights and raising public awareness about torture through education and advocacy
Ø   Working together with human rights organizations in South Korea and abroad to support torture survivors in Asia

Document Type : Forwarded Press Release
Document ID : AHRC-FPR-014-2016
Countries : Asia,
Issues : Human rights defenders,