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New International Peace Prize For Women Welcomed

New Zealand Welcomes New International Peace Prize For Women

Acting Women's Affairs Minister Sandra Lee says New Zealand welcomes the launch of the Millennium Peace Prize for Women, the first award of its kind to honour women for peace-building, to mark International Women's Day today.

The Millennium Peace Prize was developed jointly by the United Nations Development Fund for Women, UNIFEM, and the London-based International Alert organisation, with six prizes to be presented in New York later today. Prime Minister Helen Clark was co-chair of the international judging panel.

"It is highly appropriate that one of the inaugural prizes will be presented to the Leitana Nehan Women's Development Agency for the community building work it has carried out on war-torn Bougainville, where New Zealand peacekeepers have served with distinction," Ms Lee said. "Women in our region are getting long overdue recognition for making a difference in helping to resolve conflicts".

Ms Lee said $100,000 of New Zealand official development assistance had supported Leitana Nehan directly and through Oxfam during the past three years. Additional New Zealand funding had been allocated towards the Director Helen Hakina's travel expenses so she could attend today's New York presentation.

In 1992, Leitana Nehan began programmes, under the slogan 'Women Weaving Bougainville Together', to rebuild the trust that had eroded between neighbours and communities who supported opposing sides during the conflict.

Ms Lee said the Agency had since built up a strong volunteer network, initiating anti-violence workshops focussing on domestic violence and helping boys and young men to see that the guns and violence of their childhood were not a necessary part of their futures. It also supported small income generating projects to enable many women to provide for the basic needs of their families, and to prepare them if required to serve as the head of their households.

Other Millennium Peace Prizes would be presented later today to individuals or representatives of groups from Kosovo, Pakistan, Colombia and Rwanda.

"UNIFEM focuses on areas of strong interest to women everywhere such as strengthening the economic capacity of women and promoting women's rights and the elimination of violence against them", Ms Lee said.

"UNIFEM is also concerned to ensure that women do not bear the brunt of the negative effects of globalisation such as poverty, the impact of conflict, and international trafficking in girls and women."

"While New Zealand is not a developing nation targeted by UNIFEM, as one of the Associate Ministers of Maori Affairs, I am naturally supportive of any organisation that provides positive models for empowering women, and Maori women in particular," she said.

Ms Lee said International Women's Day, which celebrated women and their struggle for equal rights, was originally observed to commemorate a strike by women workers in New York City garment and textile factories on 8 March 1857.

The United Nations designated 8 March as International Women's Day during International Women's Year, in 1975.

„h International Women's Day activities within New Zealand:
Glyn Walters, Human Rights Commission, 09 375 8627 or 025 313 239
„h NZ foreign aid for the Leitana Nehan Women's Development Agency:
Sue Le Mesurier, MFAT, 04 494 8475 or 025 643 6694

Events celebrating International Women¡¦s Day
with the support of the Human Rights Commission*

City Contact Person

Whangarei Mira Norris, P.O. Box 1064
Ph (Hm): 09 436 1289. Cell:025 2942938

Cartwright video
Guest speaker: Sandra McCursey

Hamilton: Noeline Nuttall
103A Ohaupo Rd
Melville, Hamilton
Ph: 07 843 6375

Hosted by the Mayor and Mayoress of Hamilton
Guest of Honour: Helen Clark
6pm, Arts Post, Victoria St.

Putaruru: Ruthana Begbie,102 Arapuni Street.
Ph (Hm): 07 883 8171

Picnic lunch
Te Ruapeka Marae, Fitzgerald Glade
10:30am ¡V 2pm

Rotorua: Sandy Hall
07 345 5900

Cartwright video
Speakers: four local women, including Areta Koopu

Gisborne: Robyn Rauna
Te Puni Kokiri
06 868 0208

Cartwright video
¡§Recognising Our Own Worth¡¨
Speaker: Nona Gaskin
Number 2 Wharf Shed, Gisborne Wharf

Wanganui Tiahuia Abraham, 61 Bell Street.
Ph (Hm): 06 348 0054 Wk:06 345 5823
Cell:025 588 773

Cartwright video
Gallipolli Restaurant
Whanganui RSA
St Hill St.
12 ¡V 1pm

Palmerston North Debi Marshall-Lobb
PH: 06 357 4779
WK: 06 654 2900
Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Manawatu

¡§He Poo Ngaahau¡¨
Cartwright video
Informal guest speakers discussing their experiences
88 Rhodes Dr.

Hokitika Barbara Greer,228 Hampden Street
P.O. Box 271, Ph:Hm: 03 755 6279

Cartwright video
Speaker: Margaret Jemmison
All Saints Lounge Hall

Auckland Farida Sultana
Shakti Migrant Resource Centre
025 604 1911

¡§Celebrating Migrant Women in New Zealand:
Speakers: four representatives of ethnic communities, including Dr Manying Ip, Senior Lecturer, University of Auckland
Opening ceremony: Dr Marilyn Waring
9am ¡V 4:30pm
Shakti Asian Women¡¦s Centre
138 Church St., Onehunga

* this is not an exhaustive list of activities and should be used in conjunction with activities planned by Unifem, National Council of Women, Zonta, university students associations, and other groups.

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