UN drops award sponsored by Equatorial Guinea’s Obiang

21 Oct

A United Nations agency has suspended plans to grant a prize sponsored by Equatorial Guinea President Teodor Obiang Nguema after lobbying by human rights groups.

Mr Obiang is accused of rights abuses, rigging elections and corruption. He has previously denied such charges.

The UN scientific and cultural agency, Unesco, said its executive board agreed to suspend the life sciences prize.

It said it would continue consultations on the award’s future.

The prize was created by the board in 2008, and Equatorial Guinea was to finance it for five years for a total of $3m (£2m).

The suspension was welcomed by campaigners.

Tutu Alicante, of EG Justice, said: “The way Teodoro Obiang has governed Equatorial Guinea undermines all the values Unesco stands for.

“The suspension is a sign that the Obiang government cannot pull the wool over the eyes of the international community with empty human rights public relations campaigns.”

There was no immediate response from President Obiang or his government.

It argues that criticism of the country’s leadership is misguided and that it is taking steps to better the lives of its citizens, including by building hospitals and schools.


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Posted by on 21 October, 2010 in GENERAL


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