Lifelong work for democracy in Eritrea
The 2003 Rafto Prize was awarded to Paulos Tesfagiorgis (1947) for his efforts to improve the rights and democratic influence of the people of Eritrea.
By awarding Tesfagiorgis the Rafto Prize, the Rafto Foundation gave their support to Eritreans who fight, by using non-violent means, against oppression and the militarization of the Eritrean society
Tesfagiorgis fought for his people by establishing the only PFDJ licensed Regional Centre for Human Rights and Development in Eritrea. (The People's Front for Democracy and Justice) Tesfagiorgis was also co-founder and head of the Eritrean Relief Association during the Eritrean war of independence. Following Eritrean independence he was appointed to the commission which drafted Eritrea's constitution. The constitution was ratified in 1997. In 2002 Tesfagiorgis and 17 other Eritreans set up the "Citizens Initiative for the Salvation of Eritrea" (CISE)
Today, living in exile, he continues his lifelong work, through peaceful means and dialogue, to empower the people of Eritrea.