|Pacific Media Watch|
US rebukes regime with award to dissident
Title -- 5364 FIJI: US rebukes regime with award to dissident
Date -- 12 March 2008
Byline -- None
Origin -- Pacific Media Watch
Source -- Fairfax Media 11/03/08
Copyright - FM
Status -- Unabridged
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US REBUKES FIJI WITH AWARD TO DISSIDENT
(Fairfax Media/Pacific Media Watch): US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has delivered a stinging rebuke to Fiji's military rulers by giving a courage medal to one of the South Pacific nations human rights campaigners.
Former journalist Virisila Buadromo, executive director of the Fiji Women's Rights Movement (FWRM), claims she was beaten and abused by Fiji soldiers following Commodore Voreqe Bainimaramas December 2006 coup.
The military denied anything happened and Buadromo has been since subjected to further harassment.
In Washington today she was one of eight women to receive from Rice an Annual Secretary of States Award for International Women of Courage.
This is an opportunity to pay tribute to women from around the world, who courageously champion equal rights in their communities, and whose personal sacrifice is an inspiration to all who seek peaceful change, Rice told the presentation.
From Somalia and Fiji, to Iraq and Afghanistan, from Pakistan and Paraguay to Kosovo and the Palestinian territories, these women of courage are transforming their societies from the bottom up, and in doing so, they are inspiring us all.
Undersecretary of State Paula Dobriansky introduced Buadromo as the executive director of the Fiji Womens Rights movement.
Following the 2006 coup, she was hauled into the military barracks on Christmas Eve and endured days of horrific abuse, followed by a two-month travel ban, Dobriansky said.
Awards also went to Suraya Pakzad of Afghanistan, Eaman Al-Gobory of Iraq, Pakistans Begum Jan - the chairperson of the Tribal Women Welfare Association - Palestinian Nibal Thawabteh, Cynthia Bendlin of Paraguay, Valdete Idrizi of Kosovo and Farhiyo Farah Ibrahim, a Somali refugee.
Rice said the eight were nominated by US embassies worldwide.
These eight women share a commitment to the non-negotiable demands of human dignity the conviction that no culture, no religion, and no tradition of any nation provides license for treating women as objects or instruments to be commanded by another.
She said the eight women of courage were not as well known as Aung San Suu Kyi, who remains under house arrest, or women like Benazir Bhutto, who lost her life working for democracy.
Like these iconic leaders, the women who we honour today are an inspiration to women in their own countries and around the world who are working for freedom and positive change.
And I may say, too, that they represent not just women and their courage, but all people who seek equal justice, equal rights, and the non-negotiable demands of human dignity. And they are an inspiration to me.
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