A Catholic priest has been awarded the 2012 Gwangju Prize for Human Rights.
Mun Jeong-hyeon has been awarded the honor for resisting injustice and abuse of state power, while supporting socially disadvantaged people and engaging in various environmental and peace movements.
The committee of the Gwangju Prize for Human Rights selected him for the award because of his commitment to peace and justice ranging from fighting for democracy in the 1970s and ‘80s, to protesting against a controversial naval base planned for Gangjeong, in Jeju. He was recently hospitalized after falling while protesting on the island.
He played a leading role in establishing the Catholic Priests’ Association for Justice in 1974, and participated in the hunger strikes and rallies for a democratic constitution in 1986.
“As a Catholic priest, referred to as a ‘street father,’ during his whole life he has been always beside the isolated and the suppressed, sharing their pain and inspiring hope,” the committee said in a statement. “Through the life of Father Mun, we are once again enlightened that democracy, human rights and peace are for and because of those who struggled for these things.”
The committee is chaired by Kim Jun-tae of The May 18 Memorial Foundation.