Publicerat 4 november, 2014

Human rights activist praised in Umeå

This year’s Per Anger Prize will be awarded in Umeå on 13 November as part of the city’s Swedish Forum for Human Rights event. The prize will be awarded to Nepalese human rights advocate Rita Mahato for her important and unselfish work in support of abused women in Nepal. Sweden’s Minister for Culture and Democracy, Alice Bah Kuhnke, will present the prize.

On behalf of the Swedish government, the Living History Forum awards the Per Anger Prize annually to an individual who has shown great courage and initiative in promoting democracy and conducting humanitarian work. The 2014 Per Anger Prize will be awarded to Nepalese human rights advocate Rita Mahato for her enduring fight against sexual violence against women and girls in a patriarchal, violent and socially disadvantaged community.

Rita Mahato works as a representative for the human rights organisation Women’s Rehabilitation Center (WOREC) in south-eastern Nepal, close to the border with India. The organisation provides support for abused women and informs them about their rights. According to Nepalese law, child marriage is prohibited. Despite this, many young Nepalese girls are married off, in many cases before they have even reached puberty.

Mahato is 37 years old and her primary motivation is her own experience. She suffered psychological and physical violence and threats as a girl. Married off as a teenager, she gave birth to her first child barely a year later. Her parents-in-law abused her while she was pregnant and forced her to perform strenuous work, causing her to sustain a uterine prolapse.

Nine international volunteer organisations participated in nominating candidates for the prize: Amnesty International, Afrikagrupperna, Diakonia, Civil Rights Defenders, the United Nations Association of Sweden, the Swedish Section of the International Commission of Jurists, Reporters Without Borders, the Church of Sweden and PEN International, Swedish Chapter.

Photo: WOREC

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