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    14 July 1999

    UN Secretary-General to Present Vienna Civil Society Award on 19 July


    VIENNA, 14 July (UN Information Service) -- UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan will be presenting the first Vienna Civil Society Award, which honours individuals or groups for outstanding work in fighting global crime and drug abuse, to four international winners at a Vienna ceremony on Monday, 19 July.

    The winners, selected by a ten-member international committee from a list of more than 100 nominations worldwide, include the Fundación Azteca of Mexico, Shanthi Ranganathan of India, the Drug Abuse Prevention Centre of Japan and Rogers Kasirye of Uganda.

    The Fundación Azteca of Mexico, established in 1997, has significantly contributed to both national and international awareness of the fight against drug addiction. It has launched one of the world's most aggressive information campaigns -- Vive Sin Drogas (Live Without Drugs) -- which has been supported by extensive media coverage in newspapers, journals and television.

    The Fundación has enlisted more than 17,000 active groups to assist drug addicts through telephone help/hot lines. It highlights drug abuse as a problem that strikes any age, gender, social status, race or religion and stresses that creating an anti-drug culture is one of the key ways of fighting it.

    India's Shanthi Ranganathan is a devoted social worker who has been striving to reduce drug demand in her country for the past two decades. In 1980, she founded India's highly prominent T. T. Ranganathan Clinical Research Foundation, which has taken pioneering steps to combat drug abuse and rehabilitate addicts.

    Ms. Ranganathan has been honoured with several awards at the national and international level for her outstanding efforts to prevent drug abuse over the last 20 years. In 1992, the Indian government presented her with the year's Padma Shri award, one of India's highest tributes for social service.

    Japan's Drug Abuse Prevention Centre is a non-governmental organization which has made significant progress in preventing drug abuse in that country and developing nations since it was set up in 1987. Working with local communities and the Japanese police, the Centre has launched national campaigns aimed at raising public awareness of drug abuse and its prevention.

    The Centre's "No. Absolutely No!" publicity campaign in Japan, for example, gathered together the government, police and local community in a highly successful effort to promote drug-free living. In addition, the Centre has held fund-raising campaigns to support NGO drug prevention activities in developing countries.

    Rogers Kasirye of Uganda has taken remarkable steps to raise public awareness of drug abuse in his own and neighbouring countries. He has led community and research seminars in the Kampala slums and elsewhere on substance abuse among street children. His organization, the Ugandan Youth Development Link, has set up the only drug abuse counselling and information centre in the country.

    International agencies such as the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), the World Food Programme (WFP) and the UN International Drug Control Programme (UNDCP) have asked Mr. Kasirye to help other countries -- including Zambia, Kenya, Cameroon, and Tanzania -- with programmes aimed at reducing drug abuse.

    The Vienna Civil Society Award was jointly created and co-sponsored by the Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention (ODCCP), the Austrian government and the City of Vienna. It marks the first time the United Nations will honour individuals, institutions and organizations helping to fight global crime, drug abuse and terrorism.

    The Award ceremony will take place at 19.30 p.m. on 19 July at Vienna Rathaus (City Hall), where Mr. Annan will present the winners with an Award Medal, a Certificate and prize money of $100,000, which will be shared among them.

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