UNHCR to be awarded Indira Gandhi Peace Prize
Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development for 2015 will be awarded to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The decision was taken by international jury of the prize, headed by Vice-President Hamid Ansari. UNHCR has been chosen for its "immense contribution" in assisting millions of refugees and for working towards bringing changes to reduce flow of refugees.
The Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development was instituted by the Indira Gandhi Memorial trust in 1986, when it was first awarded. It is accorded annually by India to individuals or organizations in recognition of creative efforts towards promoting international peace, development and a new international economic order. The award carries a cash prize of Rs.25 lakh and a citation.
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is a UN agency mandated to protect and support refugees. It does this at the request of a government or the UN itself and assists in their voluntary repatriation, local integration or resettlement to a third country. Headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland UNHCR was established on 14 December 1950 by the UN General assembly.
UNHCR also known as the UN Refugee Agency has won two Nobel Peace Prizes for its ground breaking work; once in 1954 and again in 1981.
Some of the previous recipients of the Indira Gandhi peace prize include UNICEF (1989), Rajiv Gandhi (1991), former US president Jimmy Carter (1997), Grameen Bank founder Muhammad Yunus (1998), former commissioner of UNHCR Sadako Ogata (2001), former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan (2003), Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (2007) and German Chancellor Angela Merkel (2013). The latest recipient of the award was ISRO in 2014.
With the growing crisis in the Middle East and Sub Saharan Africa, the role of UNHCR is ever more important in safeguarding the rights and well-being of refugees.The latest figures available show that the number of refugees of concern to UNHCR in mid-2014 stood at 13 million refugees.
The Indira Gandhi peace prize is announced on 19 Nov, which also happens to be the birth anniversary of Indira Gandhi, the first female Prime Minister of India.