Applications - Human Rights Prize of the French Republic
Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and individual candidates, regardless of nationality and borders, should present a field initiative or project to be implemented in France or abroad, on one of the two themes for 2017:
Theme 1: freedom of information, freedom of the press and journalism
Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights provides that “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.” Freedom of information and freedom of the press are essential corollaries of freedom of opinion and expression and pillars of democratic society founded on pluralism, tolerance and open-mindedness. As such, free journalism is a prerequisite for the protection and promotion of all other human rights.
However, breaches of these fundamental freedoms are many and take diverse and very serious forms: censorship, arrests, prosecution, threats, forced disappearances, and attacks on the lives of men and women. France, which considers that these are some of the most precious human rights, suffered such a tragedy with the attack on Charlie Hebdo in January 2015.
Winning projects, actions and programmes will aim to ensure respect and promotion of freedom of information, freedom of the press and the independence of media and journalist, regardless of their nature and in all mediums, be they written, radio, multimedia or online blogs, in the face of political power, economic power, conflicts of interests and pressures of any sort.
They may also include programmes for training of public communication, or actions to
promote these freedoms and journalism through all mediums. Measures to defend or protect individuals threatened, censored or arrested and their families (legal, social assistance, etc.) for their journalism may also be selected, as may actions to protect and strengthen rules on the safety and independence of journalists and histleblowers.
NGO actions may also seek to raise international public awareness, so as to measure the scale of breaches of freedom of information and freedom of the press, or aimed at encouraging the exercise of these freedoms and action to ensure their respect.
Theme 2: promotion and protection of sexual and reproductive rights
Access to sexual and reproductive health services is vital for decent living conditions in which individuals can thrive and live in good health. It is also a crucial lever for women’s empowerment and gender equality. Guaranteeing the availability of health services and the exercise of sexual and reproductive rights has a direct positive impact on the health of women and girls, on access to education and employment, on financial independence and, more generally, on socio-economic development.
Rights relating to sexuality, pregnancy, childbirth and maternity have long been anchored in international law. In 1994, the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), held in Cairo, Egypt, confirmed that sexual and reproductive rights were human rights and affirmed that the principles of gender equality and equity and the empowerment of women were key factors in strategies relating to population and development.
Major progress has since been made to implement the commitments made, and sexual and reproductive rights are an integral part of the 2030 Agenda: target 3.7, under SDG 3 (Good Health and Well-Being), requires universal access to sexual and reproductive health-care services, while target 5.6, under SDG 5 (Gender Equality), requires guaranteed universal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights.
However, more than 20 years after the adoption of the ICPD Programme of Action, progress appears to have been variable, slow, and particularly insufficient regarding sexual rights and reproductive health.
In several places worldwide, women and girls cannot decide their own sexuality, are victims of sexual violence, and cannot determine the number of pregnancies they wish to have or their spacing. Moreover, pregnant women, those about to give birth, and young mothers often have insufficient access to health-care services.
Projects to assist or support women and girls in order to allow them to enjoy the best state of sexual health possible, enabling them for example to access sexual and reproductive health services, may be candidates.
Projects could also involve actions aimed at developing sex education initiatives or
information programmes on sexual and reproductive health, whatever the gender and sexual orientation and identity of the target audiences. Lastly, projects fostering the inclusion of sexual minorities and promoting everyone’s right for respect for their physical integrity and the choice of their partner and sexual orientation could also be eligible.