The institute’s board chairman Leonidas Donskis said at a news conference that the decision was due to Linkevičius’ work with activists of Eastern European countries, as well as the position stated after Latvia’s Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics came out as gay.
“Lithuania’s active involvement in the activities of international human rights institutions shows that the promotion of human rights is an integral part of Lithuania’s foreign policy,” said the minister.
The Human Rights Champion Award is conferred on 10 December, the International Human Rights Day.
The date was chosen to honour the United Nations General Assembly’s adoption and proclamation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) on 10 December 1948. It was the first global enunciation of human rights and one of the first major achievements of the recently-created United Nations.