The 2011 Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to three women, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Liberian peace activist Leymah Gbowee and Yemeni human rights activist Tawakkul Karman.
The Nobel Foundation said Friday the women were recognized “for their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work.”
Sirleaf and Gbowee used different tactics to confront evil in war-ravaged Liberia with the former challenging a warlord for the presidency and the latter taking to the streets to denounce armed rapists preying on women throughout the country.
“This gives me a stronger commitment to work for reconciliation,” said Sirleaf, who became Africa’s first democratically elected female president in 2005 and is running for a second term on Tuesday. “Liberians should be proud.”
Karman, 32, who has been called “the mother of the revolution,” has been fighting for change in her conservative Muslim country for years.
She was arrested in January which helped to galvanize hundreds of thousands of people to protest and demand the ouster of Ali Abdullah Saleh, who has ruled Yemen for three decades.
When the Nobel Prize was announced Karman was in a protest tent in Change Square in central Sanaa where she has been almost every day for the past eight months.
“This prize is not for Tawakkul. It is for the whole Yemeni people, for the martyrs, for the cause of standing up to [Saleh] and his gangs,” she told The Associated Press. ”Every tyrant and dictator is upset by this prize because it confronts injustice.”
The Nobel Foundation, which has been issuing the annual prizes in six categories since 1901, recognized the winners in medicine, physics, chemistry and literature earlier this week. The prize in economic sciences will be announced Monday.
With files from The Associated Press