Awards: Peace Medal to Pillay: Giffey does not go to the ceremony

Peace Medal to Pillay: Giffey does not go to the ceremony

The Governing Mayor of Berlin: Franziska Giffey.  Photo: Christoph Soeder/dpa

The Governing Mayor of Berlin: Franziska Giffey. photo

© Christoph Soeder/dpa

Ex-UN Human Rights Commissioner Navanethem Pillay will receive the Otto Hahn Peace Medal in Berlin next week. Berlin's Governing Mayor Giffey will stay away from the ceremony. The background is Pillay's attitude towards Israel.

Berlin's Governing Mayor Franziska Giffey (SPD) distances herself from the presentation of the Otto Hahn Peace Medal to former UN Human Rights Commissioner Navanethem Pillay. Giffey canceled her participation in the award ceremony about a week ago, and the event could not take place in the Red City Hall either, said Senate spokeswoman Lisa Frerichs.

The "Bild" newspaper had previously reported criticism of the award of the prize to Pillay. The South African lawyer was a judge at the International Criminal Court from 2003 to 2008 and then UN High Commissioner for Human Rights until 2014. The criticism relates to their attitude towards Israel.

Former Green Party politician Volker Beck accused Pillay of supporting an "Israel delegitimization policy" in "Bild". Anna Staroselski, President of the Jewish Student Union in Germany, is quoted as saying, a honor Pillays in the Red City Hall legitimize "Israel-related anti-Semitism".

No member of the Senate should award the prize either

The national association of the German society for the United Nations had announced the award ceremony for September 20th in the Rotes Rathaus with Giffey's participation. But Senate spokeswoman Frerichs now explained: “An award ceremony of this kind in the Rotes Rathaus, the town hall of all Berliners, requires broad approval from the city society. This is not the case for this event. In view of the circumstances, we are therefore refraining from planning the event of the German Society for the United Nations eV can take place here." Nor will any member of the Senate award the prize.

According to the DGVN, since 1988 the Otto Hahn Peace Medal has honored "on behalf of the country BerlinPersonalities "who have made a special contribution to peace and international understanding". Due to the corona virus, the Medal 2020 will only be awarded to Pillay now. The Board of Trustees of the Peace Medal unanimously decided in favor of Pillay, thereby honoring "her outstanding commitment to procedural law and their tireless commitment to human rights".


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