Bruno Kreisky Foundation

for Human Rights

1979 | 1st award

October 19th 1979
Palais Palffy
Bruno Kreisky and Cardenal Raúl Silva Henríquez.

„Only revolutions without bloodshed reach their goal.“

December 7th 1989, Bruno Kreisky on the occasion of the lending of the Dr. Martin Luther King jr. Peace Prize.

The orientation of the Foundation, which has conferred its prizes every two years since 1979, was highlighted by the prize winners nominated for the 1st awards on October 19th 1979 at the Palffy Palace, Vienna.

The first prize winners from Latin America included Miguel Obando y Bravo, Raúl Silva Henríquez and the Committee of the International Alliance of Free Trade Unions for the Defence of Human Rights in Latin America. Cardinal Raúl Silva Henríquez, the former archbishop of Santiago de Chile and president of Caritas Internationalis from 1962–1965, was one of the leading defenders of human rights and union rights against the Pinochet regime. Miguel Obando y Bravo was elevated from cardinal to archbishop of Managua in 1985. Another prize went to the Austrian branch and Gruppe II of Amnesty International for their engagement for a political prisoner in Argentina.

Christiaan Freederick Beyers Naudé, the theologian and critic of South African Apartheid, who was banned by the Apartheid regime, and the married couple Jean and Hildegard Goss-Mayr for their pacifist engagement and contribution to East-West dialogue, also received awards.

Winners of the first Bruno Kreisky Prize for human rights: Issam Sartawi, Lova Eliav, Archbishop Miguel Obando y Bravo, Bruno Kreisky, Cardinal Raúl Silva Henríquez, Hildegard and Jean Gross-Mayr, Otto Kersten.
Issam Sartawi and Arie Lova Eliav, the first winners of the Bruno Kreisky Prize for Human Rights in 1979. Right: Egon Matzner.

A particular aspect was most certainly the granting of a joint award to the Israeli politician Arie Lova Eliav and the Palestinian doctor and politician Issam Sartawi. The award was Kreisky's suggestion. This award given to two pioneers of Israeli-Palestinian dialogue, aimed to encourage their early initiative for peace, and to give public and media support to those seeking dialogue on both sides. Issam Sartawi met opposition from the Palestinian leadership and criticism from radical Palestinians for his readiness to enter dialogue. He was murdered by a Palestinian assailant in Albufeira in Portugal in 1983.