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Peace Banquet 2012

The proceeds of the Nuremberg Peace Banquet came to about 45,000 Euros. On Saturday, 29 September, 2012, around 180 guests enjoyed a four-course dinner in aid of a good cause. The focus of the evening was the 2011 Human Rights Award winner, Colombian human rights activist and journalist Hollman Morris, and thus on the human rights situation in his home country, Colombia. The proceeds of the benefit will go towards supporting further journalistic work of the “Contravia” TV station.

Lord Mayor Dr. Ulrich Maly, the evening’s host, promoted Hollman Morris’ important commitment to the struggle for the implementation of human rights in Colombia. ”The Peace Banquet is an important and very beautiful institution, because it shows that the City of Nuremberg continually keeps supporting its award winners and their work”, emphasised Maly in the packed out historic city hall. As a journalist, Morris has talked and written about the victims of human rights violations and violent crime in his native country. As a consequence, he and his family continually met with hostility and harassment and had to leave the country. In Colombia, there has been an armed conflict between security forces, guerrilla groups and paramilitary units for decades. Some of Morris’ research has made sure that there was no impunity for severe human rights violations. The 44-year-old started his career in the radio, later on moving to TV. In his reports – for stations including the BBC, Channel 4 and Radio France Inter – he has dealt with the topics of peace and human rights.

“The award presented to me by the City of Nuremberg brought me and my work a lot of attention”, reported Hollman Morris who was able to return to Colombia eight months ago. One of the decisive reasons for his return home had been a change of government in his home country which also got the peace process going again. Morris looks forward with optimism to the talks between the new government and the guerrilla groups, scheduled to begin on 8 October, in Oslo, and hopes that after over 50 years, there will finally be peace in Colombia. He reported about the current situation in his native country, together with his brother, Juan Pablo Morris, also a journalist. They talked about the work of the “Contravia” TV station which has set itself the task of giving a voice to victims of human rights violation, such as people expelled from their land While the political climate has improved, the lack of finances has currently made it impossible to broadcast produced programmes on TV. But these programmes are available on the internet, said Morris. In view of the coming peace talks, the 44-year-old emphasised the important role of the media: they need to accompany this peace process and be a critical voice.

During the following gala dinner, the team from the Arvena Park Hotel served culinary delights. As in previous years, the students of the vocational school for florists, created decorations guests could feast their eyes on. The musical accompaniment for the evening was provided by Yara Linss and her band, honoured with the City of Nuremberg Award for Promoting Culture. This was the seventh event of this kind since 1999. The City of Nuremberg organises the Peace Banquet every two years, alternating with the presentation of the Nuremberg International Human Rights Award. Each gala benefit is held to support the projects of the previous year’s award winner. The title refers back to the historic peace banquet of 1649, when the former opponents of the Thirty Years’ War sealed their peace treaty in Nuremberg, after negotiating the details.

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