Zimbabwe – Communiqué issued by the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs
Paris, 20 May 2009
France welcomes the award of the 2009 Ludovic-Trarieux International Human Rights Prize to Beatrice Mtetwa, an eminent lawyer acting for journalists and human rights defenders in Zimbabwe and president of her country’s Law Society.
She has been awarded this prize for her essential contribution to upholding the right to freedom of association, freedom of assembly and freedom of expression, and defending the rule of law in Zimbabwe.
Indeed, Beatrice Mtetwa was attacked on several occasions following the acquittal of journalists and release of human rights activists she was defending. In particular, she worked for the release of Jestina Mukoko and her fellow activists on 2 March 2009.
Beatrice Mtetwa is the second African winner – after Nelson Mandela in 1985, when he was still a prisoner – of the Ludovic-Trarieux International Human Rights Prize.
This distinction, awarded by a jury of 21 European lawyers, honours an exceptional lawyer and the human rights defenders in Africa. France takes this opportunity to salute the work of all lawyers defending, sometimes at the risk of their lives, respect for fundamental freedoms all over the world.
This prize will be presented to Beatrice Mtetwa at a ceremony in the French Senate this October./.