Monday, May 19, 2008

Valedictory Speech of Munir Malik

May 18 known as 518, is one of Gwangju's most significant dates. The annual commemoration is a tradition that has been observed by the families of the victims which the government only instituted in 1995. So for this year, President Lee Myungbak came to The May 18 National Cemetery to lead and address this event to pay respect to the spirits of the heroes and victims of the 1980 Gwangju Democratic Uprising. It is also an important date for Gwangju citizens and the Korean public in bestowing honor and recognition to group or individuals by awarding the Gwangju Prize for Human Rights.

For 2008 this award is given to Mr. Muneer Malik for his role in protecting the independence of Pakistan's judiciary, defending its constitution and promoting human rights. Mr. Malik was the former President of the Pakistan Supreme Court Bar Association. He led the struggle in fighting against the attempt made by President Musharraf to oust the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, in order to protect human rights and the independence of the judiciary.

So on May 18, 2008 at 5:00 PM, Mr. Malik was awarded the 2008 Gwangju Prize for Human Rights. The ceremony was graced by Mr. Kwangjang Yoon, Chairman of The May 18 Memorial Foundation; Mr. Youngmin Noh, a member of the Korean Parliament who read the citation of Mr. Malik; Mr. Kyunghwan An, Chairperson of the National human Rights Commission of Korea; and representative of Mr. Gwangtae Park, Mayor of Gwangju who read his congratulatory message. It was witnessed by the participants of the 2008 Gwangju International Peace Forum and the citizens of Gwangju. The event was widely covered by the media. Korean musical artists and KBS Children’s Choir serenaded Mr. Malik for their congratulation.

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