International Alert’s Country Manager in Rwanda has won this year’s Ecumenical Peace Prize (EPP).
Gloriosa Bazigaga was awarded the prestigious prize, including a €2000 cheque, at a colourful ceremony held in the German capital of Berlin on 25 November 2013.
The EPP, a brainchild of the German Catholic Bishops’ Organisation for Development Cooperation (MISEREOR), is an annual award given to human rights activists from the Great Lakes region of Africa.
Speaking at the award ceremony, Monsignor Pirmin Spiegel, MISEREOR’s Director General, praised International Alert for its work on reconciliation and reintegration in Rwanda.
“Thank you for the excellent work that you and International Alert are doing in Rwanda, particularly regarding the Reconciliation and Reintegration Project,” he said, “This award today goes to appreciate that excellent service and it is an honour to be presenting it to you.”
For her part, Ms Bazigaga said she was honoured to be chosen as this year’s winner, adding, “It is true most of the work International Alert does is challenging, requires patience, and sometimes a lot of sacrifice. However, this work would be impossible without a commitment to social justice and peace and the incredible support from organisations like MISEREOR.”
Launched in 2010, the EPP honours activists for their work, and stresses the importance of human rights activities in the Great Lakes region of Africa. The award ceremonies also aim to publicise the winners and their work in Germany.
Previous winners of the award have included: Raphael Wakenge – Initiative Congolaise Pour la Justice et la Paix (2010), Ligue des Droits de la personne dans la region des Grands Lacs (2011), and His Lordship Laurent Monsengwo (2012). Cardinal Monsengwo, Archbishop of Kinshasa (Democratic Republic of Congo) and formerly Co-President of Pax Christi International, was recognised for his strong advocacy for peace, calling for an end to the violence in his country and violations of human rights especially in the east.
Alert’s Reconciliation and Reintegration Project in Rwanda has been providing spaces for interaction between those affected by the 1994 genocide since 2010. This includes survivors, ex-prisoners, ex-combatants and young people, building trust between them.