Congolese nun today announced as winner Nansen Refugee Award 2013

September 17, 2013

(Sister Angélique Namaika on her bicycle to visit the girls she helps in Dungu © UNHCR/ B. Sokol)

UNHCR announced today – 17 September – that the Nansen Refugee Award 2013 goes to Sister Angélique Namaika, who works in a remote north-east region of Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) with survivors of displacement and abuse by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). Sister Angélique, through her Centre for Reintegration and Development, has helped transform the lives of more than 2,000 women and girls who have been forced from their homes and abused, mainly by the LRA, a rebel group originating in Uganda. Many of those she helps recount stories of abduction, forced labour, beatings, murder, rape and other human rights abuses.

The announcement of the 2013 Nansen prize coincides with the release of a report about life for those displaced by LRA violence. Since 2008, an estimated 320,000 people have been forced to flee in DRC’s north-eastern province of Orientale – in some cases several times. The report, produced by UNHCR and the IDMC (Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre), highlights why LRA violence has created such severe and long-lasting trauma for both the abductees and the hundreds of thousands of people still too afraid to return home. Sister Angélique herself was displaced by the violence in 2009 while living in the town of Dungu, in Orientale province. She knows the pain of fleeing one’s home. It is part of what drives her to work day in and day out to reach all those in need.

Responding to the announcement, the new Nansen winner said: “It is difficult to imagine how much the women and girls abused by the LRA have suffered. They will bear the scars of this violence for their whole lives. This award will mean more displaced people in Dungu can get the help they need to restart their lives. I will never stop doing all I can to give them hope, and the chance to live again.”

Sister Angélique will receive the Nansen Refugee Award and the Nansen Medal at a ceremony in Geneva on September 30.

via UNHCR – Congolese nun named winner of prestigious Nansen Refugee Award.

 

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