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Kennedy Gets Refugee Award

The UNHCR today announced that the late Ted Kennedy will receive the 2009 Nansen Refugee Prize.

From the UNHCR:


Senator Kennedy’s work in establishing US refugee admissions, resettlement, and asylum programs directly helped millions of persecuted individuals to find protection and start new lives in the United States. He was the chief sponsor of more than 70 refugee related measures and was instrumental in codifying international refugee obligations into US law.

In announcing the Nansen award, U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres said: “Senator Kennedy stood out as a forceful advocate for those who suddenly found themselves with no voice and no rights. Year after year, conflict after conflict, he put the plight of refugees on the agenda and drove through policies that saved and shaped countless lives.”


From his election in 1962, Senator Kennedy adopted a comprehensive approach in his fight for refugee protection. He effectively utilized his influence in the United States Congress to advance refugee and asylum-related legislation and to raise awareness of refugee crises. 


The Nansen Refugee Award is given annually to an individual or organization for outstanding work on behalf of refugees. It includes a $100,000 prize that the winner can donate to a cause of his or her choice. It was created in 1954 in honour of Fridtjof Nansen, Norwegian explorer, scientist and the first UN High Commissioner for Refugees.


The award will be given in October.