From Global Witness:
The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is set to award a life sciences prize named after and funded by the dictator of Equatorial Guinea, despite pleas from hundreds of outraged individuals and organizations around the world. Human rights and other civil society groups today called for a full investigation into the source of the money in a joint letter to UNESCO.Let me add my voice to those opposing this decision by UNESCO. Obiang's regime is guilty of massive, well-documented human rights violations against civilians. This is not a situation in which the facts are up for debate; there is universal agreement among observers (excluding those working in the oil industry) that Obiang is among the worst human rights violators in the world.
"UNESCO is allowing itself to be used to burnish the unsavory reputation of a cruel and corrupt despot," said Tutu Alicante of the human rights organization EG Justice. "The prize's US$3 million endowment should be used for the education and welfare of the people of Equatorial Guinea, rather than the glorification of their president."
...The UNESCO-Obiang Nguema Mbasogo International Prize for Research in the Life Sciences was created in 2008 to recognize "scientific achievements that improve the quality of human life." Yet under the rule of President Obiang-the prize's namesake-the quality of life in the country, sub-Saharan Africa's fourth largest oil producer, remains abysmal.
There is no good reason that a UN agency should validate his "leadership" or honor Mr. Obiang's name in any way. To implicitly claim that Obiang is concerned with improving the life of anyone outside of his own family is insulting to the memory of those innocent civilians who have been tortured and died at the hands of his regime. UNESCO - and any scientist who accepts this award - should be ashamed.