London – 24 September 2012
Peter Tatchell, Director of the Peter Tatchell Foundation, won the Lifetime Achiever Award at the National Diversity Awards ceremony in Manchester last Friday, 21 September. It was hosted by TV presenter, Brian Dowling.
The National Diversity Awards recognise contributions to equality and diversity in the fields of race, gender, age, disability, sexual orientation and gender identity.
The full list of shortlisted nominees can be viewed here: http://goo.gl/lrX08
After receiving a standing ovation, Peter Tatchell dedicated his acceptance of the award to “the courageous human rights campaigners in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East. Far more than me, these people have risked their lives and liberty to defend human rights – often at great personal cost. Their heroism is a true inspiration. I walk in their shadow. I salute their courage.”
The Chair of the Peter Tatchell Foundation, Anthony Gajadharsingh said:
“We are delighted that Peter has received this prestigious award in recognition of his human rights work with the Peter Tatchell Foundation and with the many other equality and diversity organisations with which he has collaborated over the last 45 years.”
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In his acceptance speech, which paid tribute to his fellow nominees, Peter Tatchell said:
“I do my bit for human rights, as do many of you and many, many others. Together, we make the change.
“In my 45 years of human rights campaigning I have worked with so many extraordinary, amazing, inspiring people. I couldn’t have done half of what I’ve done without their support. To work with them has been a truly great honour and privilege.
“I’d like to dedicate my acceptance of this award to the courageous human rights campaigners in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East. Far more than me, these people have risked their lives and liberty to defend human rights – often at great personal cost. Their heroism is a true inspiration. I walk in their shadow. I salute their courage.
“One simple idea has guided my human rights activism: Don’t accept the world as it is. Dream of what the world could be – and then help make it happen.”
Anthony Gajadharsingh added:
“Peter’s many extraordinary achievements include two attempted citizen’s arrests of the Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe (London 1999 and Brussels 2001), staging the first gay rights protest in a communist country (East Germany 1973) and exposing the Nazi war criminal SS Dr Carl Vaernet (1998/1999).
“In the late 1970s, he pioneered the idea of a single comprehensive equality law to prohibit all forms of discrimination. More recently, in 2005 he initiated the current efforts to end the UK’s twin bans on same-sex civil marriages and opposite-sex civil partnerships.
“During the Olympics, Peter spearheaded protests against the sexism and homophobia of many National Olympic Committees; working together with the European Women’s Lobby and women’s rights activists from Africa, Asia and the Middle East,” he said.
Abraham Eshetu, anti-racist campaigner and head of equality and diversity for Norfolk Constabulary, and an NDA nominee for Positive Role Model (Race), added:
“Peter has been an inspiration to me for the last 20 years. He has shown us the way to challenge injustice and fought for what’s right. His work benefits not just minorities but it has made Britain a better place for us all.”
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