Washington, D.C.—It is with great pleasure that WOLA announces the recipients of its prestigious Human Rights Awards for 2014. This year marks WOLA’s 40th anniversary and the awards will be presented at what is expected to be WOLA’s largest annual celebration ever on November 12, 2014 at Union Station. The occasion will honor two distinguished leaders who have shown a dedication to advancing human rights in the Americas.
This year, WOLA will honor:
- Congressman George Miller (D-CA), a leading advocate in Congress on education, labor, and human rights around the world. Since he was first elected to Congress four decades ago, his courage and strategic vision have been at the forefront of the work for human rights in the Americas. From the days when he was a leader in efforts to end U.S. military aid to repressive regimes in the 1970s and 1980s to his vocal support for labor rights in Colombia today, he has been steadfast in his commitment to human rights and social justice.
- Dr. Claudia Paz y Paz, Guatemala’s first female Attorney General, who made significant strides in the prosecution of organized crime and corruption during her nearly three-and-a-half years in office. Dr. Paz y Paz brought to justice prominent human rights abusers from Guatemala’s civil war period, most notably leading the team that assembled the case against former Guatemalan dictator Efraín Ríos Montt. A crusader for justice, the rule of law, and human rights, Dr. Paz y Paz was a 2013 nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize. WOLA honors her with its Human Rights Award for her unfailing pursuit of justice and accountability.
For 40 years, WOLA has been a leading voice in Washington working to advance human rights and end violence throughout the Americas.
Describing this year’s recipients, WOLA’s Executive Director Joy Olson said, “Congressman Miller is no fair weather friend. His career shows us what commitment to human rights means. Most recently, through his efforts to monitor and promote implementation of the U.S.-Colombia Labor Action Plan he shows us that rights transcend borders.”
“Dr. Paz y Paz is one brave woman. She has been both tenacious and smart in how she has pursued her responsibilities as Attorney General. She took on cases that would have previously been defined as against all odds.”
The honorary committee for this year’s gala includes former Rep. David Bonior, Rep. John Conyers, Rep. Rosa DeLauro, Sen. Christopher Dodd, Rep. Keith Ellison, Rep. Eliott Engel, Rep. Sam Farr, Rep. Raul Grijalva, Sen. Tom Harkin (former honoree), Rep. Mike Honda, Rep. Hank Johnson, Rep. Barbara Lee, Rep. Sander Levin, Rep. John Lewis, Rep. Jim McGovern (former honoree), Rep. Jim Moran, Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard, Rep. Jan Schakowsky, former U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis, and Sen. Jon Tester.
Past award honorees include Mexican actor Gael García Bernal, Chilean President Michelle Bachelet, Tlachinollan Human Rights Center of Mexico, Sen. Tom Harkin, Rep. Jim McGovern, and the Salvadoran online newspaper El Faro.
The awards ceremony will be held at Union Station on November 12 at 7:00 p.m.