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Reebok Human Rights Award

by Nicole Gust
May 2001

Many corporations that vend goods in the United States have factories in third world countries. They have these factories because labor there is cheaper. Therefore a majority of these companies use child slave labor as well as slave labor in general. If you need to buy sports equipment, NIKE merchandise should not be an option. Reebok is a sports manufacturer, who sells goods that are made without the use of slave labor. This company is so interested in protecting the rights of all human beings that it has created an award.

The Reebok Human Rights Award was established in 1988. It honors young people from the United States and around the world who have made significant contributions to the cause of human rights(http://www.reebok.com). This award is designed to draw positive international attention to the recipients of this award, and to support their wok in human rights. The award consists of a $50,000 grant to be used for future work.

There are a few qualifications that one must meet to be the recipient of such an award. The nominees must be working on an issue that directly relates to the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights. They cannot advocate violence or be more than thirty years of age. This award is given to an individual, based on personal achievement or commitment. Women and men of all races, nationalities, and religions are eligible for the award(http://www.reebok.com).

Many individuals have won this award. In 1995, the Reebok Foundation honored four young activists from the United States, Rwanda, Mexico, and Tibet for their leadership roles in their countries. One of the recipients was Angela Brown, a 30 year old from Georgia. She was recognized for her environmental work in the southern United States. Richard Nsanzabaganwa, a 26 year old from Rwanda was recognized for working to bring justice for victims of the 1994 Rwandan massacres of half a million people. Another recipient was Miguel Angel de los Cruz, a 30 year old Mexican attorney based in Chiapas. He represents indigenous people in his cases. Lastly, Ven. Phutsok Nyidron, a 27 year old from Tibet was honored for her work in her community. She was a Tibetan Buddhist nun jailed for seventeen years after asserting free speech rights in demonstration against the Chinese occupation of Tibet(http://www.tibet.html). Even those who are not nominees have benefited from the stories of winners. In 2001, the Team Harmony Foundation was honored to be a part of the Reebok Human Rights Award Ceremony. Over two hundred students and teachers from Team Harmony attended the event to hear the powerful stories of the award winners and to witness the changes that can be made when people stand up against injustice (http://www.teamharmony.org).

This award has helped people to truly stand up for their beliefs. It is an incentive to respect the rights of human beings in every country. Even people in third world countries deserve respect. So, next time you need a new pair of sneakers or a sports bag, shop at Reebok. Not only does Reebok produce goods without the use of slave labor, they honor those that do the same.

Available online at http://ihscslnews.org/

Immaculata Child Slave Labor News
Immaculata High School, Somerville, NJ

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