Holocaust survivor and human rights advocate judge Thomas Buergenthal is announced today as the 2018 Stockholm Human Rights Award laureate. Having devoted his career to the protection and promotion of human rights and international law, Judge Buergenthal will be honoured at a ceremony in Stockholm, Sweden on 20 November 2018. The award is given in recognition of work advancing international justice and strengthening respect for human rights.
In the presence of an audience of eminent individuals in international law, Judge Buergenthal will be the 10th recipient of the Award – bestowed annually by the Swedish Bar Association, the International Bar Association and the International Legal Assistance Consortium.
Judge Thomas Buergenthal was one of the youngest survivors of Auschwitz. His childhood was wrecked by gross human rights abuses and he endured a total disrespect for the rule of law. Despite the experience of his early years, he has become a world leader in advancing human rights and his absolute commitment to the rule of law is an inspiration for all who may be experiencing similar suffering, says Agneta Johansson, ILAC Executive Director.
Judge Buergenthal’s long and distinguished career as an international jurist was shaped early on by his experiences as a survivor of the Auschwitz and Sachsenhausen concentration camps. Over a period spanning more than half a century, he has served as a judge and taught at several leading law schools. His judgeships include the Inter-American Court of Human Rights(1979–1991), which contained a term as its president; the Inter-American Development Bank‘s Administrative Tribunal (1989–1994), which also included holding the role of president; the United Nations Truth Commission for El Salvador(1992–1993); the United Nations Human Rights Committee(1995–1999); the International Court of Justice(2000–2010); and the IBA Inquiry on Crimes Against Humanity in North Korean Political Prisons(2016).
A widely respected scholar, Judge Buergenthal has held many professorships and academic positions, includinghis present position as Lobingier Professor Emeritus of Comparative Law and Jurisprudenceat The George Washington University Law School, where he has taught international law and international human rights law (1989–2000; 2010–2015); Dean of Washington College of Law of American University (1980–1985); and endowed professorships at the University of Texas at Austin and Emory University,where he was also the Director of the Human Rights Program of the Carter Center.
Judge Buergenthal has also served on the Ethics Commission of the International Olympic Committee; as Honorary President of the Inter-American Institute of Human Rights in San José, Costa Rica; and is a former Chairman of the Committee on Conscience of The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the United States’ national institution for the documentation, study and interpretation of Holocaust history.
An author of numerous articles on international law and human rights, Judge Buergenthal has written more than a dozen books, including his memoir A Lucky Child: A Memoir of Surviving Auschwitz as a Young Boy, in which he recounts his journey from the Nazi concentration camps to liberation and his reunion with his mother following the end of World War II. The book has been translated into more than 12 languages.
Committed to the promotion of human rights and the rule of law, Judge Buergenthal will be presented with the 2018 Stockholm Human Rights Award on Monday 20 November 2018 at Berwaldhallen, Dag Hammarskjölds väg 3, Stockholm, Sweden.
The Stockholm Human Rights Award was established in 2009 by the Swedish Bar Association, the International Bar Association and the International Legal Assistance Consortium. It is awarded annually to a person or an organisation for outstanding services in the support of human rights and the rule of law.
Past recipients of the Award:
- 2017: International Criminal Court
- 2016: Mary Robinson
- 2015: Prince Zeid Ra‘ad Zeid Al-Hussein
- 2014: B’Tselem
- 2013: Professor M Cherif Bassiouni
- 2012: Thomas Hammarberg and European Roma Rights Centre
- 2011: George Soros and Aryeh Neier
- 2010: Navi Pillay
- 2009: Richard Goldstone
For further information on the Stockholm Human Rights Award, please contact
Romana St. Matthew – Daniel, Press Office, International Bar Association
Anne Ramberg, Secretary General, Swedish Bar Association
Vanessa Passos Araújo, Communications Officer, International Legal Assistance Consortium (ILAC)