MOZAMBIQUE: Alice Mabota Wins 2010 International Women of Courage Award

Tuesday, May 4, 2010
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Alice Mabota, president of Mozambique's Human Rights League, received in Maputo on Monday the 2010 International Women of Courage Award granted by the United States State Department in recognition of her commitment in promoting women human, economic, legal and civic rights.

Established in 2007 by then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, the Women of Courage Award is meant to recognize and honour women around the globe who have shown exceptional courage and leadership in promoting women's rights and advancement.

Alice Mabota, who is a lawyer, is one of most prominent Human Rights activists in Mozambique. She is also the founder of the Mozambique's Human Rights League that was established in 1995.

Speaking during the ceremony, the U.S. Ambassador to Mozambique, Leslie Rowe, said that Alice Mabota has been a tireless advocate of economic, legal and civil rights of women in the country.

"Your organization has provided free legal assistance to thousands of illiterate widows, helping them to ensure their property. You travelled extensively across the country, effectively using all media outlets to teach women about their rights on land ownership, to be free from domestic violence, to control their sexuality, to live free of HIV/AIDS among others," stressed the Ambassador.

For his part the US Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labour, Dan Baer, who is currently visiting Mozambique, said that the incumbent US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, pays special attention on issues related to human rights.

In fact, he recalled the famous speech delivered by Hillary Clinton during the Beijing Summit in 1995, when she said that "women's rights are human rights, and human rights are women's rights".

"If the Secretary of State was here, I believe that she would challenge all the men attending this ceremony to assume that women's rights are not just a women's issue, but everyone's responsibility," said Baer.

Addressing the participants, Alice Mabota, acknowledged that working on LDH is not an easy task, explaining that she just wants to play her part for the establishment of a fairer society.
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"When a woman shows up at the League complaining that her land was stolen and has nowhere to go ... when a woman who has been raped and goes to the police station to file a complain only to be ignored and told that it is a social issue ... sometimes I think maybe I'm not the one who deserves this award, "said Mabota.

On the occasion she seized the opportunity to dedicate her award to all Mozambicans, who have always trusted on the LDH, even when fearing the possible retaliations of the complaints filed in this organization.

Alice Mabota concluded by saying that she would have never won this award without the support and cooperation from her colleagues and the media, who have always reported the activities carried out by the Human Rights League.