[imText1]The president of the Defense Forum Foundation Suzanne Scholte, who has been working to publicize North Korea human rights issues internationally for more than a decade, has been selected as the winner of the Seoul Peace Prize for this year.
The Seoul Peace Prize Cultural Foundation held the final screening committee meeting on September 3 at the Korea Press Center and subsequently announced Suzanne Scholte as the 9th Seoul Peace Prize laureate.
President Lee Chul Seung of the Seoul Peace Prize Committee revealed that the selection committee decided to give the award to Ms. Scholte after a rigorous and careful screening process.
Ms. Scholte started working to improve the North Korean human rights situation in 1996; she contributed much to the opening of the first hearing on North Korean political prison camps in 1999 at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s Subcommittee on East Asian and Pacific Affairs, and has been working actively to spread the North Korean human rights word on Capitol Hill ever since.
She succeeded in getting Congress to allow the former secretary of the Chosun Workers Party, Hwang Jang Yop, to testify in 2003, devoted herself to passing the U.S.’ North Korea Human Rights Act of 2004 and, since then, she has been hosting the North Korean Human Rights Week every April in Washington D.C. so as to publicize the North’s human rights issues to the world.
Upon hearing the news of the prize, she commented that “Doing all that we can do for the promotion of the human rights for North Korea and North Korean refugees represents the conscience of the age,” according to the Foundation.
The 9th Seoul Peace Prize award ceremony is to be held on October 7 in Seoul. The previous winners of the biennially-held Seoul Peace Prize are International Olympic Committee President Juan Antonio Samaranch, former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, and former President Vaclav Havel of the Czech Republic.