Thu, Oct 23, 2003 - Page 3 News List

Awards ceremony to heap praise on President Chen

By Melody Chen  /  STAFF REPORTER

Former US secretary of defense William Cohen will deliver a tribute to President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) when he receives a prestigious award from a New York-based human rights organization on Oct. 31, a presidential adviser said yesterday.

Chen will travel to Panama at the end of this month, stopping over in New York and Anchorage, Alaska.

The International League for Human Rights will honor Chen with its annual Human Rights Award, said Chen Lung-chu (陳隆志), an adviser to Chen Shui-bian and a member of the league's governing council.

The league, founded in 1941, has worked to keep human rights at the forefront of international affairs. It says its mission is "defending individual human rights advocates who have risked their lives to promote the ideals of a just and civil society."

The league chose Chen Shui-bian as the recipient of this year's award mainly because of his actions following the 1979 Kaohsiung Incident and during other human-rights and democracy movements during Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) rule, Chen Lung-chu said.

Chen Shui-bian, then a lawyer, was once imprisoned for his defense of human-rights activists.

He is slated to leave Taiwan on Oct. 31, arrive in New York that same day and stay there for two nights.

Previous recipients of the league's Human Rights Award include the Dalai Lama, Nelson Mandela, Kim Dae-jung, Elie Wiesel, Andrei Sakharov, Mario Soares, Roger Baldwin, George Mitchell, Sadako Ogata and Mary Robinson.

Cohen, also a former senator and now chief of the US-Taiwan Business Council, will act as dinner chairman during the award ceremony, Chen Lung-chu said.

Thomas Rabaut, president and CEO of United Defense, a leading US arms company, along with chairman of the Los Angeles-based Formosa Foundation Wu Li-pei (吳澧培) will also deliver tributes to Chen Shui-bian.

Rabaut and Wu will be co-chairmen of the dinner. Former New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani is expected to appear at the ceremony, Chen Lung-chu said.

"If Guiliani is able to join the ceremony, he will also deliver a tribute to President Chen. But his participation in the event has yet to be confirmed," he said.

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