07.10.2011 - UNESCOPRESS

Human rights, women’s rights and democracy are celebrated through the winners of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize

© UNESCO/Mike Sclafani/DRFrom left to right: Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Leymah Gbowee of Liberia and Tawakkul Karman of Yemen, Nobel Peace Prize 2011

The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, today congratulated the three women who were awarded this year’s Nobel Peace Prize, highlighting the role of women in advancing democracy and human rights in Africa and the Arab region.

“Awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to the first democratically elected woman President in Africa, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, an old friend of UNESCO, and to two women who are grass root activists for human rights - Leymah Gbowee in Liberia and Tawakkul Karman in Yemen – is a victory for human rights, women’s rights and democracy: a winning trio,” said the Director-General.            

“UNESCO welcomes the Nobel Peace Prize Committee’s focus on Africa and the Arab world,” Irina Bokova continued. “We share the Committee’s view that development, democracy and human rights will prevail only with the participation and empowerment of women in both regions.”            

The President of Liberia opened a conference on Women in Politics organized by UNESCO in 2006 as part of its celebration of International Women’s Day (8 March). The President also co-organized (with President of Finland) a major conference on Women’s Leadership in March 2009 in Monrovia, Liberia, which UNESCO helped to prepare.            

The winners of the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize were announced by the Norwegian Nobel Committee on 7 October in Oslo.

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