The foreign ministry is to establish a human rights award under the name ‘Stella Soulioti Award”, the island’s first woman attorney-general (AG).
Soulioti was born in 1920 and died in 2012. Before becoming AG in 1984, she was also the first Cypriot woman to join the British RAF during World war II. In the early sixties she led the Red Cross on the island and was also appointed justice minister after independence, the first woman in the world to hold that position, which she held until 1970. She had also held the position of health minister at the same time. Soulioti was also Cyprus’ first law commissioner from 1971 to 1974.
The new annual award, which the foreign ministry said would given “in honour and appreciation of Soulioti’s unique legacy that inspired generations of our compatriots” will be given to a person or NGO that has shown commendable work in the defence of human rights in Cyprus.
The award will come with a cash prize of €10,000 and will be awarded annually in a special ceremony at the foreign ministry every December to mark Human Rights Day.
In 2021, the ministry plans, in cooperation with other bodies including government agencies, foreign diplomatic missions, representatives of civil society, to launch a series of events, which will promote human rights, including a student exhibition competition, a film festival and a photography exhibition.
“The aim of these initiatives is to send the message that defending human rights is an act and a way of life,” the ministry said.