Sushil Pyakurel wins 2010 Gwangju Prize for Human Rights

Mr. Sushil Pyakurel of Nepal Wins 2010 Gwangju Prize for Human Rights.

Today at 11.00 AM, in a press conference The May 18 Memorial Foundation in Gwangju, Korea proclaimed Mr. Sushil Pyakurel as the winner for the 2010 Gwangju Prize for Human Rights.

For over two decades Mr. Sushil Pyakurel has been actively involved in the promotion and protection of human rights and democracy in Nepal. He is the founder of various human rights bodies and organizations, including the human rights organization INSEC and the Forum for the Protection of Human Rights, the first human rights organization in the country. He is also a former Commissioner of Nepal’s National Human Rights Commission (NHRC). In the course of his long and impressive career in this field he has played a crucial role in encouraging international pressure against the royal regime and in the establishment of the Office of High Commissioner in Nepal. In addition he has represented his country at several international events in Japan, India and the USA. Mr. Pyakurel is the current President of the Accountability Watch Committee (AWC), Nepal, and a member of the Dialogue Group for the Constituent Assembly.

On May 18, 2010 the award will be conferred on a ceremony to commemorate the May 18 Gwangju Democratic Uprising. The prize award includes a good medal, a certificate of achievement and Korean Won 50,000,000.

The Gwangju Prize for Human Rights is an award given to individuals, groups or institutions in Korea and abroad that have contributed in promoting and advancing human rights, democracy and peace in their work. The award is given by the Gwangju people in the spirit of solidarity and gratitude from those whom they have received help in their struggle for democratization and search for truth.

The Gwangju Prize is administered by The May 18 Memorial Foundation, a non-profit organization established on August 30, 1994. It was organized by surviving victims of the 1980 Gwangju Democratic Uprising, the victims’ families, and the citizens of Gwangju. The Foundation aims to commemorate and continue the spirit of struggle and solidarity of the May 18 Uprising, contribute to the peaceful reunification of Korea, and work towards peace and human rights throughout the world. Since its establishment, the Foundation has carried out numerous projects in varying fields, including organizing memorial events, establishing scholarships, fostering research, disseminating public information, publishing relevant materials, dispensing charity and welfare benefits, building international solidarity, and awarding the Gwangju Prize for Human Rights.




Former Commissioner

National Human Rights Commission, Nepal

For more than 2 decades Mr. Pyakurel has been involved in a movement of promotion and

protection of democratic values based upon human dignity, security and human rights. He is

considered to be the most active Commissioner of the National Human Rights Commission

(NHRC). He himself campaigned for the establishment of HNRC. While serving as a

Commissioner he assumed the responsibility regarding protection and promotion of human rights

as well as to ensure independence of the Commission in accordance with the Paris Principles. He

has boldly campaigned for ending impunity of human rights violators and ongoing

disappearances by state and non-state entities. In eighties, he campaigned for multi party

democracy and was arrested and subjected to state arbitrary actions.

Pyakurel criticized the step of the Nepal’s King to assume executive state power on 1 February

2005, terming it to be unconstitutional. He also pointed out the deplorable state of rule of law

and human rights in the country during the King’s direct rule. Then Pyakurel was imposed travel

restriction twice and barred even from his official visit to monitor the human rights situation of

the country as a Commissioner. Later, on March 20,2005 after receiving invitation from the 8

prominent senators of the United States of America including Patrick Leahy, Dianne Feinstein,

Barbara A. Mikulski and the UN Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights Ms. Mehar

Khan Williams Pyakurel was allowed to leaving the country. His visit to USA and UK during

March 2005 aimed at lobbying with various international friends and dignitaries for the

protection of democracy and human rights of Nepalese people has been significant. He also

presented the factual information on human rights situation of the country at the 61st Session of

Human Rights Commission’s meeting in Geneva in April 2005. That ultimately led to the

establishment of OHCHR monitoring office in Nepal through an MOU signed between Nepalese

government and UN under Agenda Item 19 in April 2005.

Presently based in Delhi, Pyakurel is active in raising concerns and support from the

international communities including friends of Nepalese people for the protection of human

rights and restoration of democracy in Nepal. His stay in exile has been encouraging and giving

impetus to the democratic movement of Nepal.


May 2000 to May 2005

National Human Rights Commission

Harihar Bhawan, Pulchowk, Lalitpur, Nepal


Aug 1990 to April 2000 Informal Sector Service Centre (INSEC)


Syuchatar – 4, Kalanki (Blue House), Kathmandu, Nepal


July 1985 to July 1990 Informal Sector Research Centre (INSEC)

Syuchatar – 4, Kalanki (Blue House), Kathmandu, Nepal


Feb 1985 to May 1990 Forum for Democracy and National United (FODENU)

Putali Sadak, Kathmandu, Nepal

General Secretary

Jan 1984 to Mar 1993 Forum for Protection of Human Rights

Naxal, Kathmandu Nepal

Founding Member and Central Committee Member

1982 to 1983 Weekly pro-democracy newspaper “Sagarmatha Sandes”

(Sagarmatha News).


1976 to 1979 Bansh Gopal Lower Secondary School & Bhutan Devi High

School, Hetaunda, Makwanpur District


An evening with Sushil Pyakurel at Somnath Ghimire’s place in Queens, New York City, after Pyakurel had made his presentation to the European Parliament in Brussels recommending smart sanctions against the royal dictatorial regime in Nepal, and was passing through New York before heading back to Delhi. Anjana Shakya and Narbada Chhetri also were in attendance. Sanjaya Parajuli and Anil Shahi dropped by. Family and relatives of Ghimire were also present. The evening concluded with a dinner. March 11, 2006. The following day there was another interaction program at the Maharaja, 44th and 2nd, near the UN. Many local Nepalis showed up, among them Murari Sharma, Birat Adhikari, Govinda Koirala, Anand Bist, and Tara Niraula. Sanjaya Parajuli acted host. Both Pyakurel and Shakya talked.


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