The May 18 Memorial Foundation’s human rights awards recipients (from left to right) Serge Bambara, parents of Jatupat Boonpattararaksa are speaking at the press conference held in Korea on Thursday.
South Korea’s May 18 Memorial Foundation commemorating the democratic uprising in 1980 against military dictatorship presented the Gwangju Prize for Human Rights to Jatupat Boonpattararaksa, a Thai democratic activist jailed under charges for offending the monarch and breaking a cyber law.
The Gwangju Prize for Human Rights is an award recognizing individuals or organizations that have made contributions to building human rights and bringing peace to the society. The award is given by the May 18 Memorial Foundation that was set up in 1994 to commemorate the democratic upheaval on May 18, 1980 that took away the life of hundreds of citizens in Gwangju, south of Korea.
Jatupat, this year’s recipient of the Gwangju Prize for Human Rights was a young law student when arrested in 2016 for offending the Thai monarch and breaking cybercrime law. As a student of Khon Kaen University, he fought for democracy in Thailand as student activist leader against the military regime since 2015.
The human rights award for Jatupat was received by Jatupat’s parents on behalf of the jailed student activist.
“My son has become an activist upon being inspired by Korea’s May 18 pro-democratic movement,” said Jatupat’s father. “Human rights and the freedom of expression are the values that should be guaranteed for everyone.”
“Jatupat’s actions have inspired all human rights activists and those who long for democracy beyond Thailand,” said the judging committee for the Gwangju Prize for Human Rights.
The May 18 Memorial Foundation also presented a special human rights award to Serge Bambara, a singer from western African country Burkina Faso for his works to reform the societies across Africa through his music. The African singer has been leading a social movement through an organization named Citizen`s Broom that he formed with other musical artists, and spreading the history of his country through the three singing albums titled Premonition, Revolution, and Evolution.
By Park Shin-woo
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