Dr. Naasson Munyandamutsa, of Rwandese origin, was assigned as prize winner 2011 of the Prize of Geneva for Human Rights in Psychiatry. The prize was handed to him on 22 September 2011 during the closing session of the 15th World Congress of Psychiatry in Buenos Aires, Argentina, by Prof. Mario Maj, WPA President (2008-2011) and Prof. Françoise Ferrero, President of the Foundation. Dr. Munyandamutsa developed considerable activity in his country to help the victims of the genocide of 1994 to overcome its consequences in the mental health domain. The jury gathered in Geneva under the presidency of Mrs. Ruth Dreifuss, former President of the Swiss Government. The prize amounts to CHF 20'000.-.
The price is funded by the State of Geneva through the Geneva University Hospitals and by the Swiss Federation of Psychiatrists and Psychotherapists.
The jury was convinced by the commitment as well as the scale of the task carried out by the prize winner on the field. His personal itinerary is considered to be "outstanding". He deserves special merit for "placing psychiatry at the nucleus of public health policy, working in the African continent, so often deserted by psychiatry", Mrs. Dreifuss emphasized.
Dr. Munyandamutsa put back in function the only existing psychiatric hospital of his country. He largely contributed to reconstituting Rwanda’s professional network, which had been severely decimated by the massacre. Besides, he carried out crucial participation in the mental health and community health project developed by Médecins du Monde since 2006 with the Rwandese association IBUKA, most of whose members are victims of the genocide themselves.
Dr. Munyandamutsa is the author of a poignant description of his pioneer work (The matter of meaning and references in psychic traumatism. Reflections around the clinical observation of children and adolescents who survived the Rwandese genocide in 1994). He contributed with several publications on the matter and particularly cooperated in the collective writing of “The Tutsi Genocide in Rwanda: An abjection for Humankind, a failure for Humanitarians”.
The prize winner has bonds with Switzerland; as a matter of fact, after he obtained his diploma in Medicine at the University of Butare (Rwanda) he pursued a specialization in psychiatry and psychotherapy at the Clinique Universitaire de Genève, as well as at the Psychiatric Hospital of Malévoz, Wallis.
The Prize of Geneva Foundation for Human Rights in Psychiatry was created on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the universal declaration of Human Rights. Dr. Munyandamutsa is the fifth prize winner.
The prize was awarded for the first time in 2000 by a jury presided by Mr. Robert Badinter (France). The last prize winner, in 2008, was a Ukrainian psychiatrist, Dr. Semyon Gluzman.
Contact: Prof. François Ferrero, président de la Fondation Prix de Genève pour les Droits de l’Homme en Psychiatrie.
Phone: +4178 608 24 06