In 1989, Ziegler was one of a group of self-described "intellectuals and progressive militants" who gathered in Tripoli to announce the launching of the annual "Muammar Qaddafi Human Rights Prize," awarded by the government of Libya. Ziegler explained that the purpose of the Qaddafi prize was to counterbalance the Nobel prize, which, he said, constituted a "perpetual humiliation to the Third World."
Winners of the Qaddafi prize have included Fidel Castro, Louis Farrakhan, and recently Venezuela's Hugo Chávez. When no individual of such luminous human rights credentials has presented himself, the award has gone to collectivities. In 1996, it went to a female member of the Cuban Communist party's central committee, a leader of a Ba'ath party women's organization in Saddam's Iraq, and a couple of other "symbols of women's struggle for freedom." In 1990, it went to the "Stone Throwing Children of Occupied Palestine" and in 1991 to the "Red Indians." In 2002, the awardees were "13 intellectual and literature personalities," of whom the most notable were the French Holocaust denier Roger Garaudy and (you guessed it) Jean Ziegler.