Human rights prize winner visits Chicago - Chicago News and Weather | FOX 32 News

Human rights prize winner visits Chicago

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Once every five years the United Nations awards its Human Rights Prize – an honor once received by South African President Nelson Mandela. This year's recipient is Biram Abeid of West Africa; he arrived in Chicago Saturday night to a hero's welcome and VIP treatment for his work to eradicate slavery.

Shepard Fairey inspired posters greeted West Africa's Biram Abeid. The anti-slavery leader is the winner of this year's United Nations Human Rights Prize - the award comes on the heels of South African President Nelson Mandela's death.

Through a translator Abeid says, "It's a big loss, for someone like him, a major leader in the 20th and 21st century… He has started a job but the responsibility is on us, a young generation to follow in his footsteps."

In the footsteps of Mr. Mandela, Abeid is a human rights defender. He's receiving the UN'S top honor for his work against slavery in Mauritania, West Africa.

"I've been working to organize folks in Chicago to help support the work that Mr. Abeid is doing in Mauritania," said Sean Tenner, Co-Founder of The Abolition Institute.

Tenner is hosting Abeid's trip in Chicago. The delegation's first stop after landing was at the United Center for the Chicago Bulls game where the group was given a behind the scenes tour, V-I-P access with Scottie Pippen and Bull Charities President Nancy Reinsdorf and courtside access.

Ohio Governor John Kasich attended Saturday night's game and greeted Abeid.

"He's obviously a leader. At a time of losing Nelson Mandela, of course we're looking for heroes all over the world… It's the philosophy that you've got to learn how to forgive and you've got to learn how to reconcile," said Governor Kasich.

"Africa and the world need more Mandela," said Abeid.

Other recipients of the UN's Human Rights Prize include former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and President Jimmy Carter.

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