The Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission, Chidi Odinkalu has emerged one of the three qualifiers in a roll call of the world’s leading human rights champions.
Mr. Odinkalu, whose board helped revitalized a moribund National Human Rights Commission in Nigeria, came second in a vote tally among seven contestants in the race for the 2014 edition of the coveted Human Rights Tulip Award.
Organisers of the award, the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which said on its website, www.humanrightstulip.nl that about 60.000 voters made the electronic decision on the three candidates, remarked that “we are incredibly impressed” about the development because it was the highest amount ever reached in the history of the award.
The three leading candidates that received the most votes are YASunidos (Ecuador), Chidi Odinkalu (Nigeria) and Euromaidan SOS (Ukraine).
“These three public favourites” according to the organisers, will now move forward to the next phase, which is a juried process where “Next to the three candidates chosen by the public, three wildcards are awarded to other candidates. These six finalists will proceed to the jury consultation. The wildcards are given to candidates with smaller networks, on the basis of quality and with emphasis on innovation.”
The renowned human rights defender and former UN Special Rapporteur on the Freedom of Expression, Frank La Rue, will be the chairman of the jury.
The jury advises the minister of Foreign Affairs on the final six candidates. The minister decides on the winner and will award the Human Rights Tulip in The Hague on December 9, which is the United Nations Human Rights Day.
The winner will receive a bronze statue of the Human Rights Tulip and a prize worth 100,000 Euros.