Today, on the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Weimar Human Rights Award was conferred on Palestinian human rights defender Issam Younis. At the ceremony in Weimar Günter Nooke, the Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid at the Federal Foreign Office, said in his citation:
"I congratulate the City of Weimar on this choice! Issam Younis and his organization Al Mezan work day in, day out, with complete impartiality and heedless of anyone's position or status, to protect human dignity and defend human rights. Under circumstances such as those prevailing in Gaza, this calls for extraordinary courage. All members of his organization know they are taking a great personal risk. With unflagging energy and commitment, Al Mezan offers the victims of human rights abuses practical help and support – given the desperate situation in the Gaza Strip a real ray of hope.
Human rights abuses in the Palestinian territories and in Israel – this whole issue is of course closely linked with the Middle East peace process. Ultimately only a credible peace settlement will end the violence and human rights abuses. That is why the German Government is working actively to help bring about such a settlement."
Since 1995 the City of Weimar has conferred a yearly Human Rights Award in memory of the unnamed victims of dictatorships and tyrannies. The United Nations has proclaimed 10 December Human Rights Day. The Award is endowed with 2,500 euro.