David Miliband and the global humanitarian aid and development organisation that he heads, the International Rescue Committee (IRC), received the 11th Stockholm Human Rights Award at a ceremony in Stockholm, Sweden, on Monday 4 November 2019. Bestowed annually by the Swedish Bar Association, the International Bar Association (IBA) and ILAC, the Stockholm Human Rights Award recognises outstanding work done in advancing international justice, contributions to democracy based on the rule of law, and for strengthening respect for, and protecting and promoting, human rights.
As President and Chief Executive Officer of the IRC, Mr Miliband received the award on behalf of the 13,000 IRC staff and 15,000 volunteers working in more than 40 countries and 190 field sites around the world. In 2018, the IRC and its international partners assisted 2,175 children and parents seeking asylum in the USA and resettled 5,374 refugees and Special Immigrant Visa recipients across 25 cities.
The award was presented by Mia Edwall Insulander, Secretary General of the Swedish Bar Association and Horacio Bernardes Neto, President of the IBA. In her opening remarks, Ms Insulander described Mr Miliband as ‘a magnificent role model for life-saving and life-improving work’, and said that his background brings a personal commitment to the work of the IRC.
In Mr Miliband’s acceptance speech, he noted that:
“There is something especially appropriate about the recognition by the legal community of the need to uphold the rights of civilians caught up in war, the internally displaced forced from their homes and refugees forced from their country – the people served by the International Rescue Committee. My message tonight is that we need your help to defend and uphold the regime of human rights that defined the ambitions of the second half of the 20th century. Today we face a triple emergency around the world, and that makes tonight’s award all the more poignant and important. It is not just an honour. It needs to serve as a rallying call.”
Mr Miliband, author of Rescue: Refugees and the Political Crisis of our Time, and the IRC were presented with the 2019 Stockholm Human Rights Award on Monday 4 November 2019 at Berwaldhallen, Dag Hammarskjölds väg 3, Stockholm, Sweden, before a gathering of esteemed national and international guests which included diplomats, legal experts and non-governmental organisations.
Past recipients of the Stockholm Human Rights Award:
- 2018: Judge Thomas Buergenthal
- 2017: International Criminal Court
- 2016: Mary Robinson
- 2015: Prince Zeid Raʿad Zeid Al-Hussein
- 2014: B’Tselem
- 2013: Professor M. Cherif Bassiouni
- 2012: Thomas Hammarberg and European Roma Rights Centre
- 2011: George Soros and Aryeh Neier
- 2010: Navi Pillay
- 2009: Richard Goldstone