Barcelona, 21 September 2020.- The ICIP Peace in Progress Award ceremony took place in the Parliament of Catalonia this afternoon, coinciding with the International Day for Peace. The International Catalan Institute for Peace (ICIP) presented the ICIP Peace in Progress Award 2019 to the Coalition of Families of the Disappeared in Algeria (CFDA) “for their determination and courage in denouncing enforced disappearances in Algeria, the fight against impunity and their contribution towards the establishment of a peaceful transition in the country.” The organization was founded in 1998 by a group of mothers of disappeared persons in order to raise national and international awareness regarding the cases of enforced disappearance that took place during the civil war that ravaged this North African country in the 1990s.

ICIP president Xavier Masllorens opened the ceremony, which was presided over by the president of Parliament, Roger Torrent. The ICIP president recalled that this was the first time that the ICIP Peace in Progress Award traveled to the southern shore of the Mediterranean, which he described as an “act of justice in which a European peace institution supports the struggle for truth and justice of a social organization from one of the Arab countries of the Maghreb.”

During the ceremony, a video about the award-winning organization was screened and the president of the Institute for Human Rights of Catalonia, David Bondia, read an account of the organization, recalling its principles of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence. Bondia defended memory as an essential step in clarifying the truth. “We need a memory that is not conducive to oblivion, that guarantees a genuine place in history for the thousands of victims of state terrorism and their families.”

He also underlined that the ICIP Award “should serve the purpose of paying tribute to the invisible victims of the Algerian state; it should serve the purpose of making them visible to national societies and to international civil society.”

In her speech, the founder of the award-winning organization, Nassera Dutour, defended the fight against impunity and in favor of freedom of expression of thousands of Algerian families who were victims of enforced disappearances; ultimately, she defended the rule of law because “without democracy there can be no truth.” Dutour described the case of her son Amine, who disappeared in 1997 when he was 21 under circumstances which have never been clarified: “We live between hope and despair,” she acknowledged.

At the closing of the event, the president of Parliament, Roger Torrent, praised “the brave and necessary work” of the Coalition of Families of the Disappeared in Algeria and highlighted the “historic and constant” commitment of Parliament and Catalan citizenry with peace, on the day marking 40 years since its restitution following the Franco dictatorship. In their speeches, the president of Parliament and the president of ICIP paid tribute to the political leaders in prison and in exile, especially to Carme Forcadell and Raül Romeva who, three years ago, presided over the ICIP Peace in Progress Award 2016 ceremony.

ICIP Peace in Progress Award
The ICIP Peace in Progress Award consists of public recognition, a sculpture created by the Nobel Peace Prize winner, artist and activist, Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, called Porta del sol, and 6,000 euros.

In previous editions, the award was granted to the Mexican organization Cauce Ciudadano (2018), the activist Arcadi Oliveres (2017), Peace Brigades International (2016), the Capuchin friar Joan Botam (2015), WILPF (2014), the ex-general Jovan Divjak (2013), Madres de Soacha (2012), and the struggle of conscientious objectors and “insubmisos” (people who refuse to do military service or any substitute social work) represented by Pepe Beúnza (2011). The same year, 2011, in an extraordinary edition of the award, the Parliament of Catalonia was honored for representing the continuity and legacy of the institutions “Pau i Treva” and “Consolat de Mar.”