Čeněk Růžička receives human rights prize from the US Ambassador to the Czech Republic for his contribution to Romani Holocaust recognition
On the occasion of International Human Rights Day (10 December), US Ambassador Stephen King gave the Alice Garrigue Masaryk Award to the chair of the Committee for the Redress of the Romani Holocaust (VPORH), Čeněk Růžička, as his first official act in office. Mr Růžička has finally achieved, after more than 20 years of advocacy, the Czech Government's investment into the closure and removal of a pig farm occupying the site of the WWII-era concentration camp at Lety in South Bohemia.
The US Embassy established the tradition of this award in 2004 as an expression of recognition for entities or figures who have exceptionally served the development of human rights in the Czech Republic and who, through their support for social justice and defense of democratic freedoms, are creating an open civil society here. The award is given annually and is named after Alice Garrigue Masaryk, an eminent Czech-American who was the founder of the Czechoslovak Red Cross, as an expression of recognition for her efforts to combat social injustice and her personal courage in advocating for human rights.
Alice Garrigue Masaryk is one of the great symbols of the common history of the former Czechoslovakia and the United States of America who embodies the longtime dedication of the Czech Republic to human rights, including civil and political rights, both abroad and at home. The award has previously been given to Marie Gottfriedová, Klára Kalibová, Oldřich Kužílek, the ROMEA association, Czeslaw Walek, Anna Šabatová, David Ondráčka, Igor Blaževič, Lucie Sládková, Kumar Sri Vishwanathan, Jiří Kopal, the RESPEKT weekly, and the organization "We Aid Refugees" (Pomáháme lidem na útěku - PLNU).
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