The Institute for Policy Studies proudly presents the 32nd Annual Letelier-Moffitt Human Rights Awards. Please join us in honoring the Indian Workers Congress and Francisco Soberón and Asociación Pro Derechos Humanos (APRODEH) of Peru for their courageous advocacy of human rights.
Registration begins at 5:30 p.m., a reception with light fare starts at 6:00 p.m.., a ceremony follows at 7:00 p.m., and the program wraps up with desserts and coffee at 8:30 p.m. You are also invited to stay and watch the presidential debate held that night on the big screen with us beginning at 9:00 p.m.
For more information, call Sena Tsikata at 202-787-5277 or email at email@example.com.
The Indian Workers Congress has taken a courageous stand against what is essentially modern-day slavery. Their ordeal began when they were among several hundred Indians recruited in 2006 for post-Katrina reconstruction work. The recruiters, hired by Signal Corporation, a Northrop Grumman subsidiary, promised the men green cards if they each paid $15,000-$20,000. Instead, after arriving in the Gulf Coast, they were given 10-month guest workers visas and placed in isolated labor camps. In March 2008, more than 100 walked off the job and formed the Indian Workers Congress. With the support of U.S, allies they embarked on a "satyagraha,’" a Gandhian tradition of traveling by foot in the pursuit of truth and justice. Their journey took them from New Orleans to Washington, DC, where they testified before Congress and endured a 29-day hunger strike, demanding that Signal and the recruiters be prosecuted for human trafficking. A Justice Department Investigation is ongoing.
Presented by Barbara Ehrenreich
The Asociación Pro Derechos Humanos (APRODEH) has been the driving force behind the current trial of former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori for alleged crimes against humanity during his 1990-2000 reign. This trial marks the first time a former head of state has been extradited to his own country to face justice for human rights violations. APRODEH supplied the attorney who is representing victims’ families in this case and is responsible for recent convictions of death squad leaders. In her book Speak Truth to Power, Kerry Kennedy highlighted the APRODEH founder, stating that "In the violent, vicious military and political battle that has divided his country Soberón has been viewed with suspicion and fear by both sides. Throughout the last arduous twenty years, Soberón has never failed to report abuse, even though doing so has endangered his life." Indeed he continues to face threats from all sides. In May 2008, leading international human rights groups came to Soberón’s defense when current government officials made unfounded accusations against him.
Presented by Rep. Donna Edwards (D-MD)