By Alex Bell
SW Radio Africa
04 March 2014
Zimbabwean human rights lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa was on Tuesday among ten women from around the world awarded with a prestigious annual prize by the American government.
US Deputy Secretary of State, Heather Higginbottom, on Tuesday morning presented the10 women from 10 countries with the 2014 International Women of Courage Award.
First Lady Michelle Obama joined Higginbottom and the awardees as a special guest at the morning ceremony at the U.S. Department of State in Washington.
The annual award recognises women around the globe who have demonstrated exceptional courage and leadership in advocating for peace, justice, human rights, gender equality and women’s empowerment, often at great personal risk.
Since the inception of the award in 2007, the Department of State has honored 76 women from 49 different countries.
Two Zimbabwean women, rights activist Jestina Mukoko and WOZA leader Jenni Williams, have previously been recipients of the award.
Mtetwa, who has in the past defended both Mukoko and Williams, was awarded along with women from India, Ukraine, Afghanistan and other countries.
The prize is in recognition of her enduring commitment to the rule of law and human rights, despite facing harassment, assault, violence, and arrest by Zimbabwe’s security forces.