OBSERVARE Prize Individual 2017
Dr. Catarina Albuquerque
Dr. Catarina Albuquerque was a guest lecturer at several Portuguese universities, but it was at Universidade Autónoma de Lisboa that, for a long time, she taught the subjects “Negotiating Agreements” and “International and Human Rights Treaties” in the BA in International Relations, influencing both colleagues and students. By then, she was already working as Human Rights Legal Advisor at the Documentation and Comparative Law Office of the Attorney General.
She stood out for her intervention internationally supporting fundamental causes, playing a major role in the defence of children’s rights. During the 1990s, she was involved in the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and UNICEF, and later in the Commission on Human Rights in Geneva, chairing the UN working group that drafted the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
As a lawyer, in 2008 she figured prominently as an independent expert with a mandate given by the United Nations Human Rights Council on water. It was within this framework that she played an “exceptional role as a driving force behind the recognition of Human Rights to Water and Sanitation”, amply justifying the award she received in 2016 from the prestigious International Water Association.
Given the path trodden by Catarina Albuquerque, the Scientific Council of OBSERVARE unanimously decided to award her the OBSERVARE prize, which aims to “recognize and honour individual or collective persons who are inspiring examples, whether through intellectual contributions or through action aimed at solidarity among peoples or the peaceful resolution of conflicts”.
The prize is awarded at the 3rd OBSERVARE International Conference “Beyond borders. People, spaces, ideas”. By acknowledging the merits of Catarina Albuquerque, her colleagues and researchers wish to emphasize that the cause of human rights is not only a matter of civic liberties and respect for the guarantees of citizens, but also one that encompasses their material conditions of existence, where access to drinking water and basic sanitation are minimum requirements for a decent life.