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(New York) – Salil Shetty, secretary general of Amnesty International, issued the following comments today about the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to three women who have fought for womens’ rights and equality:
"This Nobel Peace Prize recognizes what human rights activists have known for decades: that the promotion of equality is essential to building just and peaceful societies worldwide," said Shetty. "The tireless work of these and countless other activists brings us closer to a world where women will see their rights protected and enjoy growing influence at all levels of government."
"Today, it is not just these three leading women who are being celebrated, but everyone who has fought for human rights and equality in their societies," said Shetty. "The Nobel Committee’s choice this year will encourage women everywhere to continue fighting for their rights."
The Nobel Committee divided the 2011 award between Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Liberian activist Leymah Gbowee and Yemeni activist Tawakkul Karman.
Johnson Sirleaf is the first woman to be democratically elected as president of an African country. Amnesty International in the past considered her to be a prisoner of conscience, jailed for her opposition to the ruling government in 1985.
Gbowee mobilized women across ethnic and religious lines to help end war in Liberia and ensure women’s participation in elections there.
Karman is a Yemeni human rights activist who has been a leading figure in mass protests against the government in 2011.
The Nobel Peace Prize will be awarded at a ceremony in Oslo on December 10.
Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 3 million supporters, activists and volunteers in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom and dignity are denied.
For more information, please visit: www.amnestyusa.org.