Law Professor, Judge and Legal Advocacy Group Share $500K Gruber Prize
Posted Jun 16, 2010 6:32 AM CST
By Martha Neil
A law professor, a judge and a legal advocacy group will share this year's $500,000 Gruber Foundation International Justice Prize.
John Dugard, a lawyer, writer and teacher who has challenged apartheid law in South Africa, Michael Kirby, a retired judge on Australia's highest court who has championed international human rights law, and the Indian Law Resource Center, a nonprofit that has exposed and helped indigenous peoples in the Americas fight back against human rights violations, are this year's winners, the Peter and Patricia Gruber foundation has announced in a Globe Newswire press release.
"The way the most vulnerable people in society are treated can be a sign of our common humanity. All too often this is not the case, and the needs of vulnerable communities are ignored," says Justice Arthur Chaskalson, the chair of the foundation's prize selection committee, in the release. "The commitment of this year's Justice Prize recipients stands in stark contrast to this. It reflects the dedicated humanity of three prize recipients from different continents.
"Michael Kirby, John Dugard and the Indian Law Resource Center demonstrate what is possible when able, compassionate people use law on behalf of others historically denied access to the full spectrum of individual rights that many more fortunate people take for granted, Chaskalson continues. "Their taking principled and public stands in the name of human rights shows how powerfully this can move us towards achieving an impact on the recognition of those rights by political, legal and cultural institutions."
Kirby, a former High Court judge, has increased his work with human rights organizations since retiring last year. He says others, including his partner of 41 years, also deserve recognition, reports the Sydney Morning Herald.
Dugard is an international law professor with a distinguished resumé, which is recapped on Duke University School of Law's website.