U.N. agency to honor Kennedy posthumously

Sept. 15, 2009 at 11:39 AM
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UNITED NATIONS, Sept. 15 (UPI) -- The U.N. refugee agency will honor the late Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., for his efforts in helping persecuted people start anew in the United States.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said Tuesday its Nansen Refugee Award will go to the senator "for his achievements as an unparalleled champion of refugee protection and assistance for more than 45 years," CNN reported.

Kennedy was the chief sponsor of more than 70 refugee-related measures, UNHCR said. Kennedy died at 77 last month after battling brain cancer for more than a year.

"Senator Kennedy stood out as a forceful advocate for those who suddenly found themselves with no voice and no rights," said Antonio Guterres, the high commissioner for refugees. "Year after year, conflict after conflict, he put the plight of refugees on the agenda and drove through policies that saved and shaped countless lives."

The Nansen Refugee Award was developed in 1954 in honor of Fridtjof Nansen, a Norwegian scientist and the first refugee high commissioner.

The agency said it informed Kennedy of the award in June.

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