Al-Qathafi Peace Prize Goes to Former Maltese PM Dom Mintoff
The International Committee for the Al-Qathafi Award for Human Rights has just announced that former Maltese Prime Minister of Malta, Dom Mintoff, has been awarded the Prize for the year 2008.
In a statement issued in Algeria where the committee held its meeting it said:
"In their appreciation of those honourable leaders of the North who have stood by justice and right and who defended the causes of oppressed peoples, especially in Palestine and Iraq, the International Committee of Al-Qathafi Award for Peace of 2008 is awarded to the European leader and former Prime Minister of Malta."
Ahmed Bin Bella, the Chairman of the committee and former President of Algeria, chaired the meeting in Algeria.
By doing so, the Al-Qathafi Award aims to attract the attention of all peoples of the North and South that they should commit their relentless struggle toward world justice and peace.
The committee sited examples of injustice in today's world that include the recent decision by the International Court of Justice against leaders of the South, meaning the President of Sudan Omar Bashir. It said the North has a monopoly over all international organisations and uses these organisations in order to further dominate the South, steal its resources and humiliate its peoples.
Dom Mintoff (born Dominic Mintoff on August 6, 1916, is a former Prime Minister of Malta. He turned 92 last Wednesday. He was the leader of the Malta Labour Party from 1949 to 1984, Prime Minister of Malta from 1955 to 1958 (when Malta was still a British crown colony) and again, post-Independence, from 1971 to 1984.
He graduated from the University of Malta, first, with a Bachelor of Science (1937) and later as an architect and civil engineer (1939).
That same year he was given a scholarship from the Sir Cecil Rhodes foundation, and he continued his studies at Hertford College, Oxford University that led him to receive Masters in Science and Engineering in 1943.
Mintoff entered political scene in 1935 as an assistant secretary in a local party club, and was later appointed general secretary of the Malta Labour Party in 1935.
Mintoff first held public office in 1945 when he was elected to the Government Council in the interests of the Labour Party. His tenure was to be short-lived: the Labour representatives resigned in protest at the plans for a massive post-War run-down at the Imperial dockyard.
At the same time Mintoff was elected Deputy Leader of the Party with such a wide margin that placed him in an indisputable position as the successor to the then MLP leader.
Autonomous government was restored to Malta in 1947 and in the elections that year the Labour Party won an absolute majority in the face of a fragmented opposition. Mintoff was appointed Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Works and Reconstruction presiding over large post-War public projects after the MLP won an absolute majority in the face of a fragmented opposition.
After a split Mintoff refounded the party as the Malta Labour Party of which he assumed leadership, and in 1955 the Malta Labour Party was elected in office with Mintoff as Prime Minister.
He resigned in 1958 to lead the Maltese Liberation Movement. Mr. Mintoff was again elected in the General Elections in 1962 and 1966. He served as Leader of the Opposition during 1962-71.
He became Prime Minister of Malta for a second term in June 1971 and yet again following the General Elections in September 1976 and in December 1981.
Mr. Mintoff's primary aim has always been that of securing peace and stability in Europe and the Mediterranean. To this end, on assuming office in 1971, Mr. Mintoff immediately asked for negotiations with the British Government for the military base in Malta to be dismantled.
He also established very close relations with Libya, and became one of the Jamahiriya and Libyan leader Muammar Al-Qathafi's closest friends.
Mr. Mintoff steered Malta in the Non-Aligned Movement in 1973, and on December 13 1974 abolished British Monarchy and founded a democratic Republic within the Commonwealth based on work and respect for fundamental rights and freedom of the individual. On March 31, 1979 he closed down the British base and established Malta's new status of non-aligned neutrality.
In 1984 Mintoff resigned both as Prime Minister and MLP leader. However he retained his parliamentary seat.
During Mintoff's tenure of office in the 1970s Malta saw an economic boom which resulted in a general increase in the standard of living, in particular of the working class.
This was mostly due to government's policy aimed at maximising exports. It was also due to new social programmes as well as government's pro-active policies.
Various nations have recognised Mr. Mintoff's contribution to the well being of Malta. In 1971 he was awarded the Order of the Republic by Libya and in 1973 Tunisia decorated him with the Grand Cordon De l'Ordre de la Republique.
In 1976 the University of Political Studies, Ponterios of Greece, awarded him the doctorate 'Onoris Causa' and Morocco granted him the Order of the Gran Cordon of Oissam Alaouite in 1978.