Taiwan Foundation for Democracy chairman Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) announced yesterday that ECPAT International, a Thailand-based international NGO working to end commercial sexual exploitation of children, has been selected as the winner of the 2012 Asia Democracy and Human Rights Award.
ECPAT International was recognized for its contributions to protect children and to keep them safe from commercial sexual exploitation, Wang told a press conference.
The organization started as a regional campaign in 1991, when several NGOs from different countries gathered in Chiang Mai, Thailand, calling for the elimination of sexual exploitation in Asia. The organization is now an international network consisting of 82 organizations in 75 countries, he said.
Initially named “International Campaign to End Child Prostitution in Asian Tourism,” the organization reached out to every corner of the world in 1997 and was renamed “End Children Prostitution, Child Pornography & Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes.”
Since 1991, several Taiwanese NGOs concerned with the issues of women and children have joined ECPAT International under the name ECPAT, Taiwan.
ECPAT International has developed a code of conduct for the tourism industry based on the UN Human Rights Declaration and the UN Convention on the Rights of Children, calling for cooperation between governments and NGOs to combat child sexual abuse, Wang said.
Representatives of the ECPAT International are to receive the award sculpture and a grant of US$100,000 at a ceremony in Taipei on International Human Rights Day on Dec. 10.
The TFD established the award in 2006 to support individuals and organizations dedicated to promoting democracy or advancing human rights through peaceful means in Asia.
Under the TFD rules, a two-stage review process was carried out to select the winner.
A number of individuals and organizations were nominated for the award in the preliminary review and five entered the final list.
The selection commission was led by Nisuke Ando, director of the Kyoto Human Rights Research Institute and former chairman of the UN Human Rights Committee.