The President of Germany has awarded Secretary-General Kofi Annan's Special Representative for Children and Armed conflict the country's "German Africa Prize" for his "tireless efforts" for peace and democracy across the globe.
At a ceremony held in Berlin on Thursday, President Johannes Rau congratulated the Special Representative on his dedication to bringing to life the universal ideal of human rights.
Mr. Otunnu said he was honoured by the award, adding that he was accepting it not only for himself but also on behalf of the hundreds of thousands of people toiling on the frontlines of the struggle to ensure the protection and care of children.
Voting unanimously to honour Mr. Otunnu, the German Africa Foundation, which grants the award, said it was honouring "an international leading politician, who not only devotes his efforts and his work for his position as a voice of misused children all over the world, but also for democratic developments in his mother-country Uganda."
"With this award, Germany appreciates Olara A. Otunnu's fight for children's rights in Africa and all over the world," said Karl-Heinz Hornhues, Member of the German Parliament, in his opening address on behalf of the board of the German Africa Foundation. "We honour his dedication for more justice, for peace and democracy on the African continent."
As a special guest of the Federal President, the President of Ghana, John Agyekum Kufuor, attended the ceremony, which took place at the Berlin Office of the German KfW-Bank. Welcoming Mr. Otunnu, Hans W. Reich, Chairman of KfW's Board of Managing Directors, voiced strong support for bestowing the honour on the UN official, saying the gesture would serve as "a beacon of hope for the children in Africa as well as in the entire world."
Mr. Otunnu was appointed by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan as his Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict in September 1997. In this capacity, Mr. Otunnu serves as a moral voice and advocate on behalf of war-affected children, promoting measures for their protection in times of war and for their healing and social reintegration in the aftermath of conflict.
The German Africa Foundation is a charitable organization which aims to strengthen and foster ties between the peoples of Africa and Germany and to promote a better understanding of the problems experienced by the people and peoples of Africa.