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Yemeni press freedom activist Tawakel Karman wins Nobel Peace Prize

(ARTICLE 19/IFEX) - Oslo 07.10.11 - ARTICLE 19 congratulates the joint recipients of the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize, including Tawakkul Karman for her inspiring work as head of the press freedom organisation Women Journalists Without Chains.

"ARTICLE 19 is delighted that the Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to Karman, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and Leymah Gbowee, all renowned women's rights activists. I am delighted that the Nobel Committee has recognised the tireless work of these three women and their impact on their respective societies and continents. They are leading the way towards the transformation of post-conflict Africa and the realisation of Yemeni democratic aspirations as part of the Arab spring. Their absolute courage in the face of repression and danger, their commitment and their vision for peaceful and democratic societies are absolutely inspiring," says Dr Agnes Callamard, ARTICLE 19 executive director.

"We extend particularly warm wishes to Tawakkul Karman, who heads Women Journalists Without Chains, ARTICLE 19's partner in Yemen, and congratulate the Nobel committee for recognising the importance of women fighting for free speech."

Women Journalists Without Chains campaigns for the right to freedom of expression for women in Yemen. ARTICLE 19 worked with Karman and her organisation producing the 2009 report, "Yemen: an analysis of women in the media", which highlighted the poor representation of women in the Yemeni media. We have also jointly appealed to the Yemeni government following multiple death threats to Karman because of her work. The lack of independent investigations into these threats is something we strongly condemned as a dangerous step towards impunity for those who attack human rights activists.

Karman was awarded the Nobel along with Liberian president Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and Liberian activist Leymah Gbowee, "for their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women's rights to full participation in peace-building work".

Johnson-Sirleaf also champions transparency, signing the first right to information law in West Africa. Liberian minister, O. Natty B. Davis, participated in ARTICLE 19's 2010 conference, which led to the London Declaration for Transparency, the Free Flow of Information and Development.

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