Wei Jingsheng Foundation News and Article Release Issue: A51-W14



Release Date: February 11, 2004



Topic: Wei Jingsheng Met with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and President of European Parliament Pat Cox at 2003 Sakharov Prize Ceremony



Original Language Version: English (Chinese version at the end)





Wei Jingsheng attends the 2003 Sakharov Prize Ceremony by the European Parliament, and Met with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and President of European Parliament Pat Cox



Amid a high degree of global uncertainty, which undoubtedly should include the unclear nature of the wars, the outrage of refuge denials and trials, the troublesome talk of lifting the weapon sales embargo on China, and the increasingly tense atmosphere along the Taiwan strait, the presentation for the 2003 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought possesses special significance.  First, it is a reinforcement of the principles of freedom, democracy, and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms and the rule of law on which the European Parliament is founded, and second, it is a firm statement to the rest of the world that human rights violations must not be tolerated and fundamental freedoms in any region must be protected.


The European Parliament decided to award its 2003 Sakharov Prize to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and all the staff of the United Nations - in special memory of Sergio Vieira de Mello and many other UN officials who have lost their lives working for peace in the world.  Attending the ceremony as special delegates were Wei Jingsheng (1996) and other former Sakharov Laureates Ms. Senka Kurtovic (1993), Ms. Salima Ghezali (1997), Mr. Ibrahim Rugova (1998), Mr. Xanana Gusmao (1999), Basta Ya (2000), and Dom Zacharias Kamwenho (2001), relatives of UN staff victims and injured staff including Mrs. Annie de Mello, widow of Sérgio Vieira de Mello (UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and Special Envoy of the Secretary-General in Iraq) and their son Mr. Laurent de Mello, Mrs. Rula Al-Farra (sister of Ms. Reham Al-Farra of the UN Department of Public Information), Mr. Luis Martin Oar and his wife Mrs. Paloma Gascon (brother and sister-in-law of Manuel Martin Oar, Coordinator with United Nations Specialized Agencies), and the survivors Ms. Nada Al-Nashif (Deputy Resident Representative of the UNDP in Beirut), Mrs Mona Rishmawi (Senior Adviser to Mr. Sérgio Vieira de Mello), Professor Gil Loescher (Senior Fellow, International Institute for Strategic Studies, London) and his family, and Mr. Gabriel Pichon (Security Officer for Mr. Vieira de Mello).


The Award Presentation Ceremony was held in the European Parliament Headquarters in Brussels with a formal sitting of the parliament on the 29th of January 2004. The Parliament's some 600 delegates extended their warm welcome to Mr. Kofi Annan and all other special delegates, in firm solidarity for human rights and democracy with the UN and the special delegates.


Mr. Pat Cox, President of the European Parliament, welcomed Mr. Kofi Annan, the former award winners, and the relatives of the victims. The President recalled the continuing fight for freedom and democracy that even now prevented Aung San Suu Kyi from being present. Leyla Zana was not free from her incarceration, though Mr. Cox received a letter from her expressing her solidarity and her wish for a century of peace and democracy. Oswaldo Payá was also prevented from attending by the Cuban authorities. He sent a message of solidarity and dedication to the cause of human rights.


Mr Cox explained that the occasion was symbolic, giving Parliament and the UN an opportunity to mark and to celebrate the values and public purpose that we share. "Ours," he said, "is a Union of values based on pluralist democracy, respect for the rule of law, respect for individual and minority rights, sustainability, solidarity, open economy, and respect for cultural diversity. Arguably our European Union is the most successful conflict resolution process the world has ever seen."


Mr. Annan expressed his thanks and pride in accepting the award in memory of Sergio Vieira de Mello and the other UN staff who have lost their lives in working for peace in the world. It was, he said, a welcome acknowledgement of the kinds of people they were. The brave men and women lost in Baghdad were free spirits and free thinkers. He also thanked President Cox and Parliament for inviting the relatives of victims and survivors to the ceremony, which, he said, spoke volumes about the solidarity of the EU and the UN.


"Like many who survived the blast," Mr. Annan said, "the United Nations itself carries deep wounds. But our determination is stronger than ever and we value the solidarity of friends like you. Europe has seen more than its fair share of war, tyranny and terrible suffering. But Europeans have replaced that with a future of hope. You have pursued the path of peace through multilateralism. And today, the European Union is a shining light of tolerance, human rights and international co-operation."


The presentation was followed by a meeting with the delegation of families of UN victims and injured persons, a Sakharov Prize Exhibition tour, and a Choral Performance by school children.


Wei Jingsheng met with a number party leaders, including those of the European People's Party/European Democrats (EPP/ED), European Liberal, Democratic and Reformist Group (ELDR), and Green Group in the European Parliament (Greens/EFA) before and after the ceremony and discussed a variety of issues, particularly weapon sales.  The exchanges were in-depth and fruitful. Many leaders expressed their continuous support towards a democratic China, and their firm opposition towards weapon sales to China.  Former Sakharov Prize winners also expressed their willingness to strengthen the relationship with China pro-democracy forces and human rights activists. Wei Jingsheng emphasized that a democratic China is in the best interests of world peace, and a strong Communist Chinese military is a direct threat to the human race. Wei stressed that only with a firm stand by the European nations stating that human rights violations are not tolerated and weapon sales are not supported would avoid any possible wrong signal that the Chinese Communism regime would use to deceive the Chinese people and the world.


One of the founders and former president of Independent Federation of Chinese Students and Scholars in USA, XingYu Chen, also attended the ceremony and other activities along with Wei.  Chen is a world-known activist who sacrified a lot for his more than one decade of work to advocate Chinese democracy and human rights.


Photo link 1: Wei Jingsheng at the 2003 Sakharov Prize Ceremony http://weijingsheng.org/pic/newsletters/newsletters2004/newsletters2004-1/EP040129WJS.jpg


Photo link 2: Wei Jingsheng with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan (left) EP President Pat Cox (right) http://weijingsheng.org/pic/newsletters/newsletters2004/newsletters2004-1/AnnanCox040129WJS.jpg


Photo link 3: Wei Jingsheng with Mrs. Annie de Mello (middle) and Mr. Laurent de Mello (right) http://weijingsheng.org/pic/newsletters/newsletters2004/newsletters2004-1/deMello040129WJS.jpg


For more information about Wei Jingsheng Foundation and Mr. Sérgio de Mello, please read our newsletter report of Ciping Huang's meeting with Mr. De Mello of United Nations' High Commission for Human Rights in Geneva in April 2003 (issues A13-G5 and A28-O7).





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Wei Jingsheng Foundation News and Article Release Issue: A51-W14



Release Date: February 11, 2004



Topic: Wei Jingsheng Met UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and President of European Parliament Pat Cox






































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