NATIONAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE ON HUMAN RIGHTS Press release The French Republic Awards in Defense of Human Rights 2007 The French Republic Awards in Defense of Human Rights of the National Advisory Committee on Human Rights (CNCDH) awards action-oriented projects irrespective of nationality and national frontiers. Five organizations or persons whose projects fulfill one of the two topics set by the jury are awarded annually. This year the aim of the jury was to award the actions held in the course of struggle with human traffic, a contemporary form of slavery, which is an impairment of human dignity and a violation of basic human rights; as well as the projects aimed at observation and defense of freedom of opinion, expression and information – a basic freedom. The laureates of 2007 who will share the grant at the rate of 75000 euro provided by the Prime Minister of France are the following: Three Chinese lawyers, Mo Shaping, Li Jingsong, Teng Biao, are symbolic figures for the movement of human rights’ defense. Due to their decisive actions aimed at the promotion of freedom of opinion, expression and information the lawyers play an essential part in the development of the civil society in China. The Belarus Free Theatre, represented by Nikolai Khalezin, a playwright, and Natalia Koliada, a journalist and human rights defender, Vladimir Scherban, director, stages and performs productions encouraging the promotion of freedom of expression. The activity of Free Theatre demonstrates persistence and resolution of the artists in the face of intimidation and prosecution which human right defenders often have to encounter. The Cairo Human Rights Research Institute elaborates the project entitled “cultural evolvement of freedom of expression in the Mediterranean region”. It is aimed, through organization of forums and colloquia, at observation of freedom of expression and opinion as well as the development of the initiative in the Egyptian society and the whole Arabic world. “The Solidary Children of Africa and the World” association fights against children traffic at the Bopa municipality of Benin. Its activity is aimed at attraction of attention of families to readapting of the affected children, as well as creation of the supervising committee on children’s rights. “The Maurice Sixto House” of Haiti fights against children’s slavery, which is a widespread occurrence in the city sphere. Over 30000 children of humble and rural background are confided by their parents to city families in order to work as domestic servants in exchange for accommodation and education and many of them are being treated as real slaves.