FIJI NEWS

Courage award for Roshika

By ROSI DOVIVERATA Aspiring independent candidate, Roshika Deo, on Tuesday was one of 10 women from 10 countries who received the 2014 American Secretary of State’s International Women of Courage
06 Mar 2014 12:27

US First Lady Michelle Obama (left), applauds Roshika Deo of Fiji, who has been a vocal advocate for Fiji’s return to democracy and for the participation of women and youths. Photo: AFP/Jewel

By ROSI DOVIVERATA

Aspiring independent candidate, Roshika Deo, on Tuesday was one of 10 women from 10 countries who received the 2014 American Secretary of State’s International Women of Courage Award.
First Lady, Michelle Obama joined Deputy Secretary Higginbottom and the award winners as a special guest at the morning ceremony at the US Department of State.
The Secretary of State’s International Women of Courage Award annually recognises women around the globe who have demonstrated exceptional courage and leadership in advocating for peace, justice, human rights, gender equality and women’s empowerment, often at great personal risk.
Ms Deo’s citation said: “Ms Deo has been a vocal advocate for Fiji’s return to democracy and for the participation of women and youth in her country’s democratisation process.
“She was one of the very first candidates in the country to announce her intention to stand in Fiji’s 2014 elections, the first since a military coup in 2006.
“Despite intense criticism and threats of violence and financial difficulties, Roshika and her ‘Be the Change’ political campaign are inspiring a new generation of Fijian women and youth to believe in democracy and the power of civic participation.
“Roshika has also been one of Fiji’s most outspoken critics of violence and discrimination against women and girls, and has publicly stood up for government accountability.”
Since the inception of this award in 2007, the Department of State has honoured 76 women from 49 different countries.
Following the award ceremony and meetings with US government officials and NGO counterparts in Washington, DC, the winners will travel as a group to Pittsburgh, then separately to cities across the United States to engage with the American people through an International Visitor Leadership Programme.
They will visit Denver, Des Moines, Indianapolis, Portland, Dallas, Minneapolis, and Syracuse on their individual programmes. The women will reconvene in Chicago to reflect on their visit and discuss ways to work together to improve the lives of women and girls around the world.

The 2014 awardees are:

– Dr. Nasrin Oryakhil, Director, Malalai Maternity Hospital Kabul (Afghanistan)
– Roshika Deo, Feminist and Political Activist, Be the Change Campaign (Fiji)
– Bishop Rusudan Gotsiridze, Bishop, Evangelical Baptist Church of Georgia (Georgia)
– Dr. Iris Yassmin Barrios Aguilar, Tribunal President, High Risk Court, (Guatemala)
– Laxmi, Campaigner, Stop Acid Attacks (India)
– Fatimata Touré, Community activist and Executive Director, Groupe de Recherche, de’Etude, de Formation Femme-Action (Mali)
– Dr. Maha Al Muneef, Founder and Executive Director, National Family Safety Program (Saudi Arabia)

Awarded in absentia
– Oinikhol Bobonazarova, Director, NGO Perspektiva Plus (Tajikistan)
– Ruslana Lyzhychko, EuroMaidan volunteer and People’s Artist of Ukraine (Ukraine)
– Beatrice Mtetwa, human rights lawyer (Zimbabwe)




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