Justice Michael Kirby Honored With Leo Nevas Human Rights Award

July 8, 2014

New York — Following his leadership in a landmark report on human rights violations in North Korea, the United Nations Association of the USA (UNA-USA) Leo Nevas Human Rights Task Force will award Justice Michael Kirby with the 2014 Leo Nevas Human Rights Award. Recognizing Justice Kirby’s work as chair of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the award will be presented at the UN Foundation and UNA-USA Global Leadership Dinner on Wednesday, October 22, 2014 in New York.

“Justice Kirby has shone an indelible light on some of the worst human rights violations of our time,” said UNA-USA Executive Director Chris Whatley. “UNA-USA honors Justice Kirby as part of our ongoing efforts to support the advancement of international human rights.”

Released in early 2014, the report of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is the most detailed investigation into the country’s human rights situation, documenting abuses such as torture and summary executions. As Justice Kirby remarked, “Now the international community does know. There will be no excusing a failure of action because we didn’t know…The suffering and the tears of the people of North Korea demand action.”

The Leo Nevas Human Rights Award has been extended annually to persons who have distinguished themselves as unequivocal voices in the pursuit of human rights for all. Past recipients have included two independent Special Rapporteurs of the UN Human Rights Council, Paulo Sergio Pinheiro and Asma Janhangir, Congressman Tom Lantos, and most recently U.S. Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power.

The Leo Nevas Human Rights Task Force is an advisory group of distinguished citizens knowledgeable and concerned about international human rights and the role of the UN and the U.S. in protecting those rights. Established in 2007, the Task Force has emphasized the need to engage key UN institutions like the Human Rights Council and has continuously called upon the United States to pursue a bold human rights agenda within the UN system.


Media Contact
Amy Auguston
202. 213.7918


The United Nations Association of the United States of America (UNA-USA) is a membership organization dedicated to inform, inspire, and mobilize the American people to support the ideals and vital work of the United Nations. For 70 years UNA-USA has worked to accomplish its mission through its national network of Chapters, youth engagement, advocacy efforts, education programs, and public events. UNA-USA is a program of the United Nations Foundation. UNA-USA and its sister organization the Better World Campaign represent the single largest network of advocates and supporters of the United Nations in the world. Learn more about UNA-USA’s programs and initiatives at www.unausa.org

About the United Nations Foundation

The United Nations Foundation builds public-private partnerships to address the world’s most pressing problems, and broadens support for the United Nations through advocacy and public outreach. Through innovative campaigns and initiatives, the Foundation connects people, ideas, and resources to help the UN solve global problems. The Foundation was created in 1998 as a U.S. public charity by entrepreneur and philanthropist Ted Turner and now is supported by global corporations, foundations, governments, and individuals. For more information, visit www.unfoundation.org.