Marguerite Barankitse opened the ceremony calling for a general mobilisation in favor of Northern Mali, especially with the Fondation Chirac’s Appeal for Timbuktu. She reminded us that the Appeal was aimed at the entire international community.
Abdou Diouf personally awarded the Fondation Chirac Prize to the Provincial Father for the Jesuits of Columbia, founder of the Magdalena Medio Program for Development and Peace, Father Francisco de Roux. The Jury thus acknowledged his work with the MMPDP, which has sharply reduced violence in the Magdalena Medio region of central Columbia dominated by paramilitary militia. Thanks to over 300 economic and social programs, the local population has managed to acquire a certain amount of independence from the armed groups.
Father Francisco de Roux gave a moving speech, retracing his efforts and calling for dialogue and meetings. He encouraged all those who, like the Fondation Chirac or himself, are trying to build peace.
The Special Jury Prize was awarded to an exceptional woman who has fought to eradicate a major social ill: the use of child soldiers. Ms. Radhika Coomaraswamy was the United Nations Secretary General’s Special Representative on Children and Armed Conflict between 2006 and 2012. She fought tirelessly to denounce States and military groups that recruit and use child soldiers. She also fought for the implementation of the Security Council’s Resolution 1612 on the monitoring and reporting mechanism on the use of child soldiers.
Ms. Radhika Coomaraswamy wished to salute each individual and all the organisations that work to protect children during armed conflicts.
Ms. Yamina Benguigui, Minister Delegate for the Francophonie, closed the ceremony by offering her support for the Fondation Chirac and saluting its efforts to prevent conflicts.