Choi Yul, former representative of the Korea Green Foundation(KGF),
receives the 2013 Chico Mendes Award
In recognition for his 30 year contribution to environmental activities and the political victimization he experienced for his opposition of the Four Rivers Project
pursued by the Lee Myungbak government.
The Sierra Club, an internationally renowned conservation organization based in the United States, has decided to present the 2013 Chico Mendes Award to Mr. Choi Yul, former representative of the Korea Green Foundation. The organization mentioned that the selection was due to their recognition of Choi’s contributions to environmental conservation in Korea as well as the political victimization he was subjected to because of his opposition the Four Rivers Project pursued by the Lee Myungbak government.
The <Chico Mendes Award>, named for Brazilian rubber tapper, trade union leader and environmentalist Chico Mendes, who was assassinated for his activism to preserve the Amazon rainforest and his advocacy for the rights of Brazilian sharecroppers and indigenous people. Established in 1989, the award is given to individuals or non-governmental organizations outside the United States who have exhibited extraordinary courage and leadership in the universal struggle to protect the environment.
Up to 2005, a total of 11 individuals and environmental organizations have been awarded the Chico Mendes Award through seven award ceremonies. One notable laureate was Mr. Darrell A. Posey, an American anthropologist who studied Kayapo, indigenous and traditional tribes inhabiting areas along the Xingu River in Brazil and internationally aroused the dignity of culture of indigenous people. Other laureates include 1990 winner Penan Association of Sarawak, a non-environmental organization that was recognized for its work against illegal logging in the Sawarak tropical forest in Malaysia, and 1997 winner Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSAP), an environmental organization which stood against damage from the 1997 oil exploration in Nigeria.
Last February 15, 2013, Choi Yul received a one-year sentence at the supreme court of South Korea and is currently serving at the Nambu Correctional Facility in Seoul. The award ceremony organized by the Sierra Club is to be held on September 21, Saturday, 2013, in San Francisco, California. However, considering the peculiar circumstances, staff from the Sierra Club has decided that it may be possible to send a representative to Korea to present the award to Mr. Choi in person. In this case, an award ceremony organized by KFEM(Korean Federation for Environment Movement) and KGF will be held with the presence of the Sierra Club representative.