European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid, Louis Michel, awarded on March 10 the Sri Lanka journalist Wijedasa Namini the ’grand prix’ of the 2005 Natali Prize for her report ’Blatant Relentless Child Recruitment’ on the practice of recruiting children as soldiers by the Sri Lankan Tamil Tigers. Fourteen other journalists also received Natali Prizes for their commitment to Human Rights and Democracy. The Natali Prize commemorates Lorenzo Natali, a former European Commissioner for Development and a fervent defender of Human Rights.
Ms Wijedasa Namini was chosen by an independent jury from among 15 nominees all of whom were present at the ceremony in Brussels. The 15 nominees were chosen from 996 participants from 138 countries. The jury was drawn from representatives of organisations such as Reporters sans Frontieres, Amnesty International, Association of European Journalists* , World Association of News Papers and major newspapers and press agencies.