It is the most prestigious award that the World Jurist Association presents, and it recognized the work of Young being “a leader in the fight for civil rights and part of modern history for the United States and the world in the fight for human rights”.
During the day, the Ruth Bader Ginsburg Medals of Honor 2023 were awarded to Navi Pillay, Lady Brenda Hale, Ambiga Sreenevasan, Imrana Jalal, and Asifa Kakar.
His Majesty the King awarded the World Peace & Liberty Award to Andrew Young, a prominent leader for north American civil rights. The most prestigious awarded given by the World Jurist Association (WJA) and considered as the Nobel Prize in Law. The words of His Majesty the King, Andrew Young “has contributed to change to better the course of history of the United States and he did it with his own experience and through his owns efforts of a lifetime; service to others has defined his career always with a spirit of humility, pacifism and serenity”.
While collecting his award, Andrew Young assured that, “I am ready to keep going on, and I want to thank you for your faith, for your justice, and your willingness to work for peace.”
Javier Cremades, president of the World Jurist Association (WJA) noted that, “he is a leader for the fight for civil rights and part of contemporary history of the United States and the world in its battle for human rights”. He states that this recognition seeks to highlight the international work of Young in favor of the “social, political, and economic progress of the oppressed in the world”. And he added that “Young represents the values of the World Jurist Association because throughout his whole professional career he has been an example for humanity in his defense for the Rule of Law”.
The laudation was given by Leonel Fernandez, president of the Dominican Republic between 1996 to 2000, and 2004 to 2012, who concluded highlighting that Young is, “a powerful voice for peace, a true role model to all those that pursue prosperity and well-being”. And he recognized “his leadership and tireless dedication in favor of human rights, dignity, justice, and equality”.
This day was celebrated to mark the Opening Session Madrid as the prelude to the New York World Law Congress 2023, and The Ruth Bader Ginsburg Medals of Honor awarded by the World Jurist Association were presented for the second. The recognition was received by Brenda Hale, president of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom between 2017 and 2020 and the first woman to hold this position; Ambiga Sreenevasan, lawyer, Malaysian activist for free elections, for women’s rights and defender of human rights; Imrana Jalal, president of the Inspection Panel of the World Bank, specialized lawyer in human rights and founder of the gender equality movement in her native country Fiji; Asifa Kakar, Supreme Court Judge of Afghanistan, member of the Afghan Constitution Drafting Commission in 2003 on behalf of the International Association of Afghan Refugee Women Judges; and Navi Pillay, International Criminal Court judge from 2003 to 2008, High Commissioner of the United Nations for Human Rights between 2008 and 2014 and president of the International Criminal Court for Rwanda. This year, Pillay was awarded in person her medal from 2021 that she accepted virtually due to the travel restrictions at that time.
The European Commissioner of Justice, Didier Reynders, was in charge of closing the event together with His Majesty the King. He highlighted the importance of “celebrating exceptional women who have promoted the Rule of Law and equality, who have demonstrated remarkable persistence and capacity to advance peace and justice”. Regarding the prize awarded to Andrew Young, he said that “it is truly merited that his life’s work is acknowledged, and his fight against oppression has been extraordinary”.
World Law Congress New York 2023
Moreover, this day was the presentation of the 28th edition of the World Law Congress (WLC) that will be celebrated in New York on the 20 and 21 of July, which also coincides with the 60th anniversary of the Foundation.
To mark this event, His Majesty the King noted the importance of each new edition of the WLC, that “the mutual learning and the exchange of the ideas and legal concepts is crucial in order to build a global legal consensus based on and recognizing the inherent dignity of all people”.
For his Majesty, the name of the next edition of the congress, Peace through law “becomes a calling to embrace the law in an increasingly tumultuous world: many parts of the world are suffering an erosion in the functioning and adherence of democratic principles, which also naturally erodes the Rule of Law. What is at stake here is the preservation of the best model that civilization has ever created in order to guarantee peaceful coexistence: a constitutional and democratic State under the Rule of Law”.
Rule of Law Digital Center Madrid
The Opening Session Madrid 2023 was also the event to inaugurate the Rule of Law Digital Centre Madrid, the first center for the promotion of the Rule of Law launched by the World Law Foundation (WLF) and the World Jurist Association in collaboration with the law firm Cremades & Calvo-Sotelo. It is born with the objective of being a showcase, a physical and digital window to the world through which the WLF, the WJA and the international legal and business communities can join forces and carry out common actions to promote the rule of law and have a positive impact on society.
Cremades recognized that, “the Rule of Law is the biggest stronghold to defend citizens and to spread this concept is essential to maintain the rule of law”. Furthermore, His Majesty the King assured that “it truly represents yet another step for the international legal community to move ahead, to adapt and adjust its capabilities through digital media, in order to stay on course for the cause of justice, and sail through the rapidly changing times”. That is why “Madrid thus becomes one the biggest world capitals for the law, and a point of encounter open to conversation and dialogue”. This new space will be the setting for the permanent defense campaign for peace and liberty, with the law as the most fundamental tool in achieving it.
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