2019 Sunhak Peace Prize Award Theme
Human Rights and Human Development of Africa
The Sunhak Peace Prize for 2019 is focusing on “Africa’s human rights and human development” as the Award Theme for humanity’s future. Today, we are facing intensifying problems caused by global inequality. In order for us to build an era of peace and coexistence in the 21st century, we have to bring Africa’s development and human rights issues to the world’s consciousness and solve these issues together as a global family. We can accelerate the transformation of Africa with the combined efforts and good will of humankind.
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), a Crime and Inhumane Practice Carried out on Millions of Girls and Women
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), or female circumcision, is a traditional ritual usually carried out on girls under the age of 10 as a symbol of purity. This operation involves cutting or removing the external female genitalia for non-medical reasons and the operated area is sewn together, leaving a tiny hole. It has been practiced over thousands of years in many countries throughout Africa and the Middle East, due to cultural or traditional reasons. This barbaric practice, which is usually done under unsanitary conditions and without anesthetics and medical tools, is an inhumane crime.
This practice often causes infertility, problems with urination, high blood loss, infections and a mortality rate up to 30 percent. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), over 200 million girls and women have been affected by FGM, which is prevalent in more than 30 countries, including many parts of Africa and the Middle East. Yearly, about 3.5 million and daily about 9,800 girls and women’s lives are threatened by the brutal practice.
By 2050, one third of the earth’s population of women will come from Africa and the Middle East, which places over 500 million girls and women at the risk of FGM. Also, due to the increase of the immigration rate, countries in Europe, North America and Asia are being affected by FGM. Therefore, worldwide effort is urgently needed.
Transforming Africa, a Land of Poverty into the Land of Opportunity
When poverty is considered, Africa is one of the poorest parts of the world. In fact, poverty is concentrated in Africa. According to Goalkeepers Report published in 2018, which is created by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to accelerate progress towards the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, more than a billion people have lifted themselves from extreme poverty since 2000. However, this progress is centered in the region of China and India, resulting in extreme poverty being heavily concentrated in sub-Saharan African countries. By 2050, the population of Africa will reach 25 percent of the earth’s population, and sub-Saharan African countries are where 86 percent of the extremely poor people in the world will be concentrated, living under the extreme poverty line of $1.90 per day. In fact, if the continent's rapid population growth and economic level continue, Africa will fall into a disastrous state.
There is another concern regarding the African continent. Africa is the world’s youngest continent. Nearly 60 percent of Africans are under the age of 25, and the young population is projected to reach 840 million by 2050. The answer is simple: continuous investment and creation of opportunities for the world’s fastest-growing, poorest and youngest countries. This will greatly reduce extreme poverty in Africa, just like China and India. Also, this will advance human rights and create opportunities for African people. Africa’s young people have the potential to drive Africa’s development and growth. Continuous investment in Africa will produce activists, innovators, leaders, and workers of the future.
However, if Africa cannot lift itself from extreme poverty, the young population will fall into cycle of poverty, inequality, and unemployment, with no chance to experience development. Moreover, Africa may experience increasing violence, instability, terrorism and refugee issues, which will also bring global instability. It is time to focus the global efforts and good will of humankind on Africa.
2019 Sunhak Peace Prize Laureates
Dirie(Somalia)A Human Rights Activist Who Publicized the Issue of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) to the World
Akinwumi Ayodeji Adesina(Nigeria)Spearheading Good Governance of Africa through Agricultural Innovation and Eradication of Poverty