Kennedy Society of Denmark
Purpose: Keeping alive John F. and Robert F. Kennedy’s inspiration
and philosophy of life, so that their good words can be translated into good deeds.

Profiles in Courage Award, 2002

For the year 2002 The Kennedy Society of Denmark has decided to present John F. Kennedy’s book “Profiles in Courage” as award to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson for her courageous contribution for human rights throughout the world.
When President of the Republic of Ireland Mary Robinson, as head of state, visited countries in need in Africa. “The suffering I encountered in Somalia offended my inner sense of justice…” she said in 1992. Following this she criticised the UN and the EU by stating that they were “offending justice by acting slowly in aiding the devastated people of Somalia.”
As the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson has courageously and constructively criticised breaches in human rights both from small and bigger states, such as China, Russia and the US. In the spirit of John F. Kennedy's words January 20, 1961: ”The rights of man do not come from the generosity of the state but from the hand of God.” By linking the history of the Great Irish Famine to today's issues Mary Robinson has also created a bridge of partnership between developed and developing countries, corresponding to John F. Kennedy's words January 20, 1961: “If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.”
Mary Robinson has criticised the Milosovic regime in Serbia and NATO's military actions in 1999: ”Scores of civilians had been killed… while hundreds of thousands of people and families had been left jobless and homeless because of the destruction of industrial facilities and residential buildings.” This follows up John F. Kennedy's words to the UN in 1961, that the UN Charter is “to be kept” and: “Established rights are to be respected.” In her report on the Middle East in 2000 Mary Robinson calls for “All cases of the use of lethal force on both sides should be investigated and subjected to the process of justice...” This corresponds to Robert F. Kennedy’s critic words on the Vietnam War in his “To seek a newer world” in 1967: ”Guns and bombs cannot fill empty stomachs or educate children, cannot build homes or heal the sick. But these are the ends for which men establish and obey governments.” After the events of September 11th, 2001 Mary Robinson has openly and consistently appealed to considerations of the question: ”How the global community may ensure that the right balance is struck between security and concerns for human rights.” The courageous beliefs of Mary Robinson show that persons from small countries can contribute a great effort. Just as John F. Kennedy praised it in Ireland in 1963 and as Mary Robinson herself has mentioned the Danish effort in her letter about the Danish Centre for Human Rights in 2002.