The Professor Thorolf Rafto Memorial Prize for 2003 is awarded to Paulos Tesfa-
giorgis, Eritrea. For more than 20 years, Paulos has worked for the empowerment of the people of Eritrea, the creation of opportunities for genuine democratic participation, and the widening of space for human rights. He has maintained that this aim must be pursued peacefully and through popular and constructive dialogue. With this year ’s prize, the Rafto Foundation wishes to acknowledge and assist the growing number of people in Eritrea who struggle to reverse, through non-violent means, the descent towards a one-man rule and the militarization of society. Demands for democracy and human rights are not tolerated in Eritrea today. Due to surveillance, pressure to maintain unconditional conformity, and absence of the freedom of expression, people in Eritrea are unable to organize and make their voices heard. Still, there is a rising desire and demand for participation. It is the hope of the Rafto Foundation that this prize will contribute towards an international focus on the situation in Eritrea, and the opening of space for political discourse in the country.Read the entire press release