WHILE PRESENTING THE INDRA GANDHI PRIZE 2001 TO PROF SADAKO OGATA
19-11-2002 : New Delhi
Good morning to all of you, my greetings to all of you
I am indeed delighted to confer the 2001 Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development on Professor Sadako Ogata of Japan for her outstanding contribution in alleviating the pain of millions of refugees all over the world. I congratulate Professor Ogata for her achievements and receiving the prestigious Indira Gandhi Prize.
Professor Ogata has an excellent range of achievements from being an acknowledged expert on diplomatic history and international relations to having been very closely associated with the United Nations, in the area of human rights and refugees. Professor Ogata protected and assisted millions of people who have to leave the country because of war, conflict and persecution. We may recall Fridtj Nansen, the first UN High Commissioner for refugees argued that alleviating human sufferings is indeed a matter of State and not simply charity. Professor Ogata has addressed the question of security of refugees in the larger context of "Human Security" and could enlist a number of countries in this endeavour.
Professor Ogata mentioned in one of her talks, "the sources of security threats emanated mostly from internal conflicts, most of the time caused by historical rivalries and animosities among different ethnic, religious and social groups. The victims of this conflict are primarily the civilians - ordinary men, women and children. A sea change in basic humanitarian and development thinking and action is clearly called for", I agree with Professor Ogata. I wish great success to Professor Ogata's vision of implementing a full agenda of "Human Security" for the deprived and the persecuted refugees all over the world.
The care and compassion for the downtrodden and the under-privileged which Professor Ogata has brought to bear on her work is exactly in line with the ideals of Smt. Indira Gandhi. Care and affection for the downtrodden and the under-privileged was always upper most in the mind of Smt. Indira Gandhi. By conferring this prize on Professor Ogata, we not only honour an outstanding personality, we also honour a great national leader Smt. Indira Gandhi who had dedicated her whole life to remove property, the great polluter of the world.
I am sure, the 22 million refugees all over the world would join me in honouring Professor Ogata for this achievement and also thanking her for her vision and dedication in the service of all mankind.
What we, the people of India get from Professor Ogata's noble and humanitarian contribution; the message is: we should shed the differences in the name of religion and caste and in the name of haves and have-nots. And India has a great mission of transforming our nation into a developed nation by 2020. Let our nation enter into this great time-bound voyage.
On this beautiful occasion, I have great pleasure in conferring the Indira Gandhi Prize for the year 2001 on Professor Sadako Ogata.
Thank you. Wish you all the best, God bless you.