Washington, D.C. — On October 13 at 7:00 PM ET, Martin Sheen, Opal Tometi, Danny Glover, and Kerry Kennedy will help honor the recipients of the Institute for Policy Studies’ 45th Annual Letelier-Moffitt Human Rights Awards for their work to demand human rights and human dignity, embodying the spirit and the legacy of late IPS colleagues and human rights champions Orlando Letelier and Ronni Karpen Moffitt, who were assassinated by a car bomb in 1976 on the orders of Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet.

Renowned actor and activist Martin Sheen and Kerry Kennedy, President of Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, will present the domestic award to Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition International (TASSC), for their work to support and uplift torture survivors and advocate for a global end to the practice of torture, and in recognition the leadership of the late Sister Dianna Ortiz among others. 

Movement leader and advocate Opal Tometi, co-founder of Black Lives Matter, will present the international award to the Black Fraternal Organization of Honduras (OFRANEH) for their work to demand justice, self-determination and freedom from persecution for the Garífuna people and all Hondurans.

Renowned actor and activist and IPS board member Danny Glover will deliver remarks about fundraising and support for the Letelier-Moffitt awards ceremony.

“In my first year as the Executive Director of the Institute for Policy Studies and the 45th year of the Letelier-Moffitt Human Rights Awards, it has been my privilege to recognize both the legacy and the future of social justice movements around the world, as we honor two organizations that are deeply committed to championing human rights and that truly embody the spirit and the legacy of our late colleagues Orlando Letelier and Ronni Karpen Moffitt,” said Tope Folarin, Executive Director of the Institute for Policy Studies. “TASSC and OFRANEH not only advocate for the communities they serve, but by courageously shining a light on human rights abuses and demanding accountability, they have each also made significant impacts on social justice movements that have reverberated around the world.”

What: 45th Annual Letelier-Moffitt Human Rights Awards
When: October 13, 2021, 7:00 PM ET
Where: Virtual Online Ceremony

Tope Folarin and spokespeople from TASSC and OFRANEH are available for interviews and comments. The awards ceremony is open to the media. To RSVP as press or to arrange for an interview, contact Olivia Alperstein at (202) 704-9011 or olivia@ips-dc.org.

About the Awardees

The Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition International (TASSC)(Domestic Awardee)

The Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition International (TASSC) is the only organization founded by and for torture survivors around the world. TASSC was established on the guiding principles that torture is a crime against humanity and that survivors are the strongest and most effective voice in the campaign to end the practice of torture wherever it occurs. In 2002, TASSC was established as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

TASSC survivors have been tortured for participating in peaceful demonstrations, joining an opposition political organization, criticizing their government in the media, refusing to join the ruling party, being related to a political dissident, or because of their religion, ethnicity or sexual orientation. TASSC takes an integrated and survivor-centered approach to its work with survivors of torture through a trauma-informed and strength-based perspective, focusing on resilience and each survivor’s own strengths as they move toward achieving their goals and addressing all aspects of their well-being.

Sister Dianna Ortiz, who passed away on February 19, was a survivor of torture in Guatemala, a founder and first director of TASSC, and the heart and soul of a worldwide community of torture survivors and their allies. She spent nearly three decades advocating against torture and in doing so helped to create the unique survivor-centered model of healing that TASSC represents.

Black Fraternal Organization of Honduras (OFRANEH) (International Awardee)

Since 1978, the Black Fraternal Organization of Honduras (OFRANEH) has served as the representative organization for and a leading voice in Honduras for the self-determination and dignity of the Garífuna people in Honduras, a matriarchal society who are both Indigenous and Afro-descendent, whose ancestral territory in Honduras is principally along the northern coast and under constant threat from African palm plantations, Canadian and U.S. tourist operations, mining, energy projects and organized crime.

The Garífuna people’s drum beats were a constant refrain during the months of protests following the US-backed coup in Honduras in June 2009, which gave way to the consolidation of a narco-dictatorship under President Juan Orlando Hernández. In a landmark ruling, OFRANEH won two cases against the State of Honduras and achieved condemnatory sentences from the Inter-American Court of Human Rights on October 8, 2015 in favor of the Garifuna communities of Triunfo de la Cruz in Tela Bay and Punta Piedra in the department of Colon, for violation of the right to community property and the right to free and informed prior consultation.

While the Black Lives Matter movement was flooding streets in cities all over the US following the police murder of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and others, in Honduras, OFRANEH was lifting up the message that “Garífuna lives matter too” following the forced disappearance of four of their leaders in July 2020 from the community of Triunfo de la Cruz on the northern coast. In early 2021, OFRANEH announced the formation of the Garífuna Research and Search Committee for the Disappeared of Triunfo de la Cruz, “SUNLA” or “Enough” in English. OFRANEH leads this important struggle for truth and justice in the case of the forced disappearances with support from national and international experts in areas such as forensic science, anthropology, psychology, medicine, law, spirituality, research and human rights.

About the Institute for Policy Studies

For nearly six decades, the Institute for Policy Studies has provided critical research support for major social movements and progressive leaders inside and outside government and on the ground around the United States and the world. As the nation’s oldest progressive multi-issue think tank, IPS turns bold ideas into action through public scholarship and mentorship of the next generation of progressive scholars and activists.


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