MIAMI, Florida (December 15, 2014)—The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) announced today that Catalina Botero Marino has been awarded its 2015 Chapultepec Grand Prize for her excellent and tenacious performance during her role as Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), and for her extraordinary advancement, dissemination and defense of the principles of freedom of expression and of the press stated in the Declaration of Chapultepec.
The IAPA officers will officially present the Chapultepec Grand Prize to Ms. Botero Marino during the organization's next Midyear Meeting, to be held in Panama City, Panama, March 6-9, 2015.
IAPA President Gustavo Mohme stated that "Catalina's enthusiasm and dedication in defense of the exercise of free speech and press freedom has created a culture in support of these rights, even though this may trigger certain controversies with some governments in the region."
In highlighting Botero Marino's qualities Mohme, editor of the Lima, Peru, newspaper La República, stressed that "all the people of the Americas have benefitted from her unselfishness while upholding these values so fundamental for democracy."
For his part the chairman of the IAPA's Chapultepec Committee and editor of the El Salvador newspaper Prensa Gráfica, José Roberto Dutriz, added that "her great contribution was overseeing and promoting the right of the people of the Americas to enjoy, without restrictions, freedom of expression and of the press, as stated in the first principle of the Declaration of Chapultepec which this year celebrates its 20th anniversary."
Botero Marino was the IACHR Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression for two periods from 2008 to 2014. Previously for eight years she worked at the Constitutional Court of Colombia, where she was Head Magistrate and Auxiliary Magistrate.
She also served as consultant in the Colombian Attorney General's Office; National Director of the Office for the Promotion and Dissemination of Human Rights in the Colombian Ombudsman's Office; Director of the Social Foundation's Consultancy for Human Rights and Humanitarian International Law, and professor and researcher in the Law School of Colombia's Universidad de los Andes university and other national and international universities.
She is the author of several books and published essays on freedom of expression, constitutional law, international criminal law and transnational justice. She graduated as a lawyer in 1988 at the Universidad de los Andes and did post-graduate studies there and at the Complutense University in Madrid, Universidad Carlos III University and at the Center for Constitutional Studies.
The Declaration of Chapultepec, http://www.sipiapa.org/en/chapultepec/about-the-declaration, is a document of reference made up of 10 principles on freedom of expression and of the press, drawn up on March 11, 1994 at a hemisphere conference on Freedom of Expression held by the IAPA in Mexico City. Since that date it has been embraced by numerous heads of state, leaders, academics, students, press organizations and members of the public in the Americas, and its text inspired the drafting of the Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) in 2001.
The Chapultepec Grand Prize has annually, since 1998, recognized individuals or organizations that defend the Declaration's principles. Among its recipients being: Fernando Henrique Cardoso, former president of Brazil (2013); Enrique Krauze, Mexican historian, author and journalist (2012); Mario Vargas Llosa, 2010 Nobel Literature Prize winner, author y columnist (2011); José Miguel Vivanco, director of Human Rights Watch Americas Division (2010); Asdrúbal Aguiar, academic, lawyer and former Inter-American Human Rights Court judge (2009); Argentina's Supreme Court (2008); the World Bank (2007); the Inter-American Human Rights Court (2006); Santiago Cantón, executive secretary of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (2005); Anthony Lewis, author of the book "No Law: The Sullivan Case and the First Amendment", and former columnist of The New York Times (2003); Claudio M. Grossman, former president of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (2002); Jorge Santistevan, former Peruvian Ombudsman (2001); Dana Bullen, former executive director of the World Press Freedom Committee (2000); Arthur O. Sulzberger, president emeritus of The New York Times Company (1999), and Federico Mayor Zaragoza, UNESCO director general (1998). The award was not given in 2014 and 2004.
The Chapultepec Grand Prize is part of the activities of the IAPA's Chapultepec Project with the generous support of the James McClatchy Fund of California's San Francisco Foundation.
The IAPA is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the defense and promotion of freedom of the press and of expression in the Americas. It is made up of more than 1,300 publications from throughout the Western Hemisphere and is based in Miami, Florida. For more information please go to http://www.sipiapa.org.