UN officials congratulate Nobel Peace Prize winners

October 8th, 2011 - 12:31 am ICT by IANS  

United Nations, Oct 7 (IANS) Several UN officials issued statements here Friday congratulating three newly-minted Nobel laureates — Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Leymah Gbowee, and Tawakkul Karman — on winning the 2011 peace prize.

Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, president of the UN General Assembly, welcomed warmly the decision of the Nobel Prize Committee to award the prize to the three women.

“The president of General Assembly congratulates President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia, Ms Leymah Gbowee of Liberia and Ms Tawakkul Karman of Yemen for their determined activism in support of women’s rights and peace, which has now earned them worldwide recognition through the Nobel Prize,” said Al-Nasser’s spokesperson, Nihal Saad, in a statement.

Sirleaf is the president of Liberia, and Gbowee is a Liberian peace activist responsible for organizing a peace movement that brought an end to the Second Liberian Civil War in 2003, while Tawakkul Karman is a prominent activist in Yemen.

Al-Nasser applauded the winners as inspirational and a “true testament to the great potential that women represent for democracy and peace.”

“These are heroic women who have sacrificed, worked hard and showed true leadership over many years to improve the conditions of millions of people, especially in their own countries,” the statement said.

“The award of the Nobel Prize to these remarkable women can only inspire many more millions around the world to work for women’s empowerment, human rights, peace and sustainable development — ideals that are at the core of the UN Charter.”

Margot Wallstrom, special representative of the UN secretary-general on sexual violence in conflict, issued a statement congratulating the three laureates, calling them “amazing women leaders.”

“If only three of the world’s women can achieve all they have, imagine what can be done if half of the world’s population is allowed the rights women are entitled to,” Wallstrom said in the statement.

She said that the achievements of the winners are related to the goals of Security Council resolution 1325, adopted in 2000. The resolution formally recognized the need for women to play a greater role in peacekeeping and peace negotiations as well as the fact that they are impacted differently by conflict than men, including through experiences of conflict-related sexual violence.

“Allowing women access to the decision-making table remains a global challenge, and this is why today’s announcement by the Norwegian Nobel Committee constitutes such an important encouragement not only to women in Africa and the Middle East,” Wallstrom said in her statement.

“President Sirleaf’s and Ms Gbowee’s efforts have greatly helped to make the historically invisible crime of conflict-related sexual violence visible. All three individuals are achievers in their own right, who embody what so many women have been working towards for so long.”

The UN Development Programme (UNDP) also issued a congratulatory statement upon the announcement of the winners of the peace prize.

“They show us what can be achieved when women participate and take on decision making roles, and they serve as an example for us all,” said Helen Clark, UNDP administrator.

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