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Obama honore les femmes qui défient Mugabe

in ZIMBABWE, 08/12/2009

Par leur action, elles défient un dictateur", a déclaré le président Barack Obama en remettant le prix 2009 Robert F. Kennedy pour les Droits de l'homme à Magodonga Mahlangu, pour son travail à la tête de l'association Women of Zimbabwe Arise (Woza).

Source: Courrier International et thezimbabwean.co.uk

Avec la cofondatrice de Woza, Jenni Willams, elle a fait le voyage aux Etats-Unis. Depuis deux semaines, les deux femmes cherchent à faire connaître la situation dans leur pays, où les conditions économiques, sociales et politiques ne font qu'empirer malgré la mise en place d'un gouvernement de coalition en février 2009. Le quotidien The Zimbabwean rapporte que des dizaines de milliers de femmes ont rejoint l'organisation fondée en 2002, et dont les actions fermes mais pacifiques sont connues dans le monde entier. Les deux femmes distinguées, le 23 novembre, à Washington ont déjà été arrêtées plus d'une trentaine de fois dans leur pays.

WOZA leaders presented with top award by US President Obama

Leaders of the pressure group, Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA), on Monday took their message of peace to the White House in the United States, where they were presented with a prestigious human rights award by US President Barack Obama.

jenni_williams_magodonga_mahlangu.jpegAward winner Magodonga Mahlangu and WOZA co-founder Jenni Williams, both travelled to Washington DC to receive the 2009 Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights award. Williams accepted the award on behalf of WOZA while Mahlangu was singled out in her personal capacity as a rights activist.

Speaking from Washington before the ceremony on Monday night, Mahlangu told SW Radio Africa she is proud of what the group has achieved. She explained the award recognises not just her and WOZA’s fight for freedom in Zimbabwe, but also all human rights defenders who have fought for democracy in the country.

“It is an honour, after fighting for so long, that we are all being recognised in such a way,” Mahlangu said.

Mahlangu and Williams have both been in the US for two weeks, raising awareness of the true state of the Zimbabwe situation, which has changed very little since the formation of the so-called unity government in February. Mahlangu explained that the truth of Zimbabwe’s reality is being obscured by the country’s politics, saying the real people are still fighting for peace and democracy.

Mahlangu and Williams both coordinate WOZA’s protests, known internationally for being peaceful, yet relentless actions. Tens of thousands of women have joined WOZA in standing up for human rights and speaking out about Zimbabwe’s worsening economic, social and political conditions. Since its founding in December 2002, WOZA has staged more than 100 non-violent marches in support of democratic reform and women’s empowerment. As a result, WOZA has often been the target of severe police brutality, with Mahlangu and Williams as well as thousands of other WOZA supporters, being arrested many times for their participation.

The pair has been arrested over 30 times in the course of their work as human rights defenders, and has faced extreme harassment and cruelty by state security agents for speaking out against the Mugabe regime. They have led campaigns with WOZA supporters to address many of the most crucial human rights issues facing Zimbabwean women, including domestic violence and rape, the rights to food and education for children, and the rights to participation and association.

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