Minister Conor Lenihan congratulates Gégé Katana, winner of the 2007 Front Line Human Rights Defender Award
"In the face of ongoing harassment, she works tirelessly for the rights of others" - Lenihan
Conor Lenihan, Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs with Special Responsibility for Development Cooperation and Human Rights, today extended his congratulations to Ms. Gégé Katana, of the Democratic Republic of Congo, winner of the 2007 Front Line Human Rights Defender Award.
The award, which was presented to Ms. Katana, by Bono, honours her work for the rights of others in the face of great personal danger.
Minister Lenihan, who also attended the award ceremony, paid tribute to Ms. Katana's courage, noting that "in the face of ongoing harassment and persecution, she continues to work tirelessly to protect the human rights of others. Women play a central role in the defence of human rights and I am particularly pleased that the winner of this year's prize is a woman and furthermore, a woman from Africa."
"In my work on development aid in Africa, I have seen at first hand the important links between development and human rights. That is why the Government's White Paper on Irish Aid recognises clearly that our aid programme should further the realisation of human rights throughout the world," he said.
Note for Editors:
Front Line, founded in 2001, is an NGO based in Blackrock, Co. Dublin whose key mission is to protect vulnerable Human Rights Defenders at immediate risk and to provide practical means to improve their security. A Human Rights Defender is any individual who works non-violently to promote the rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The annual Front Line Human Rights Defender Award honours a Human Rights Defender who, through their non-violent work, has made an outstanding contribution to the promotion and protection of Human Rights in the face of considerable personal risk. The aim of the award is to focus international attention on the individual's work, while the cash prize supports both the individual and his or her organisation.
The award was presented at a breakfast in City Hall today by Bono to Ms. Gégé Katana, a human rights defender from the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Ms. Katana is the president of the Solidarity Movement of Women Human Rights Activists (SOFAD), based in Uvira, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). SOFAD works through a grassroots network of 625 women to research and campaign against sexual violence. SOFAD also educates local communities on women and children's rights, and lobbies the government to deliver justice and reform discriminatory laws. Gégé Katana has been subjected to persecution for many years, including intensive surveillance, travel bans, arbitrary arrest and death threats.
1 May 2007