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Emma Bonino, Olayinka Koso-Thomas, Graça Machel, Fatiha Boudiaf, Rigoberta Menchú, Fatana Ishaq Gailani and Somaly Mam

Prince of Asturias Award for International Cooperation 1998

Gathered together in Oviedo, the Jury for the 1998 Prince of Asturias Award for International Cooperation, comprised of Enrique Álvarez, Agustín Antuña, Leopoldo Calvo Sotelo, Enrique Fernández Miranda, Fernando Ramón Fernández Noval, Antonio Garrigues Walker, Martín González del Valle, Felipe González, Guillermo Kirkpatrick, Marcelino Oreja Aguirre, Luis Guillermo Perinat, Francisco Pinto BalsemÆo, Ovidio Sánchez, Nicolás Sartorius, Gustavo Suárez Pertierra, presided over by Adolfo Suárez, and with Teodoro López-Cuesta Egocheaga acting as secretary, has unanimously decided to grant the 1998 Prince of Asturias Award for International Cooperation to the cause of defending and dignifying women.

With this Award the Jury wishes to express its concern for the situation of women in many places throughout the world, especially in those where women are discriminated against or their full equality as human beings is denied.

The Jury deems that the women mentioned below symbolically express, in their different fields of activity, the striving to improve the condition of women and, overall, that of the societies which they serve.

They stand out for their endeavours in favour of women´s rights, peace, the defence of children afflicted by war and conflict, and for their efforts supporting solidarity among persons and peoples, which makes them deserving of this Award:

  • Fatiha Boudiaf, Algerian (Boudiaf Foundation).
  • Olayinka Koso-Thomas, Nigerian and resident in Sierra Leone, where she has worked for more than fifteen years in favour of the abolition of female genital mutilation.
  • Graça Machel, of Mozambique, founder and President of the Foundation for Community Development.
  • Rigoberta Menchú, of Guatemala, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize and participant in numerous United Nations initiatives in defence of the indigenous populations of Latin America.
  • Fatana Ishaq Gailani, President of the Afghan Women´s Council and resident in a refugee camp in Pakistan.
  • Somaly Mam, originator of the Phnong ethnic minority of Cambodia and President of the Action Association for Women in Precarious Situations.
  • Emma Bonino, Italian, European Commissioner in charge of humanitarian assistance, among other responsibilities, and who has led a campaign against the oppression suffered by the women of Kabul.

With the concession of this Award, the Jury has wished to draw attention to the gravity of a dramatic situation that affects millions of women in so many regions of the world, and the need for international institutions and nations to adopt the measures necessary to overcome it.

Oviedo, 9th June 1998

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