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Cablegate: Paris Nominee for 2008 International Women Of

VZCZCXRO9407
RR RUEHIK RUEHPOD RUEHYG
DE RUEHFR #4352/01 2981632
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 251632Z OCT 07
FM AMEMBASSY PARIS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0912
INFO RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE
RUEHMRE/AMCONSUL MARSEILLE 1918
RUEHSR/AMCONSUL STRASBOURG 0499

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 PARIS 004352

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR G/IWI, EUR/WE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: SCUL PHUM KWMN KPAO PREL FR
SUBJECT: PARIS NOMINEE FOR 2008 INTERNATIONAL WOMEN OF
COURAGE AWARD

REF: SECSTATE 126072

PARIS 00004352 001.2 OF 002


Sensitive but unclassified, please protect accordingly.

1. (SBU) Per reftel action request, Embassy Paris nominates Fadela
Amara, Secretary of State for Urban Policies and founder of the NGO
"Ni Putes Ni Soumises" for the 2008 Secretary of State's Annual
Award for International Women of Courage (IWOC). Born in France to
an impoverished family of Algerian descent, who lived in a housing
project, Amara has fought for two decades for the rights of women
and minorities at the grassroots level. "Ni Putes Ni Soumises"
("Neither Prostitutes Nor Submissives"), whose name was/is intended
both to shock and to mobilize, was founded in response to violence
targeting women, particularly in the suburbs and housing projects of
France's larger cities. The group focuses, particularly, on
fighting sexual abuse, pressure to wear the hijab (Islamic head
scarf), pressure for girls to drop out of school, or to be compelled
to marry against their wishes. On June 19, 2007, Amara was named in
a surprise appointment by President Sarkozy to be Secretary of State
for Urban Policies. Embassy points of contact for this nominee are
Human Rights Officer Stephen Wells and Cultural Affairs Officer Lora
Berg ( WellsWS@state.gov, BergLJ@state.gov , 33 1 43 12 27 85).

2. (SBU) NAME: Fadela Amara
TITLE/ ASSOCIATION: Secretary of State for Urban Policies
DATE OF BIRTH: 04/25/1964
COUNTRY OF BIRTH: France
CITIZENSHIP: French
ADDRESS/ TELEPHONE/ EMAIL: Secretary of State for Urban Policies, 3,
place de Fontenoy, 75007 PARIS; 01 44 49 80 00
PASSPORT NUMBER: ?

3. (SBU) Amara has actively devoted her life to fighting for the
rights of women from underprivileged backgrounds, including, but not
restricted to, Muslim women in the French suburbs. One of eleven
children born to an Algerian family in an impoverished housing
project in France, Amara became politically active at an early age.
She attributes her activism to the experience at 14 of watching
police defend a reckless driver who had hit and killed her younger
brother. She founded her first organization, the "Women's
Association for Intercommunal Exchange," at the age of 18. In 1986
she became an activist with the civil rights organization, "SOS
Racisme." In 1989 she established a women's empowerment association
called the "Women's Commission," and in 2003 the organization "Ni
Putes Ni Soumises" ("Neither Prostitutes nor Submissives").

4. (SBU) Many French suburbs are composed of immigrant and lower
income communities, whose residents have become increasingly
marginalized. Crime, unemployment and tension between traditional
values and modern French society have placed Muslim women in a
difficult and sometimes even dangerous environment. In 2002, Amara
founded "Ni Putes Ni Soumises" following a spate of "honor killings"
and attacks on young Muslim women. After one particularly brutal
killing of a young Muslim girl, Amara, along with 2,000 other men
and women, took part in a silent march. She then organized
gatherings at which girls and women could speak openly about
violence in their districts. In February 2003 she initiated a "March
of Women from the Suburbs". This march went through a total of 23
cities and drew the nation's attention to the repression of young
women in the French suburbs.

5. (SBU) Today "Ni Putes Ni Soumises" has more than 6,000 members in
60 local committees. The organization campaigns for gender equality,
women's empowerment and the end of violence against women. The
organization founded by Amara is fighting to break the law of
silence that tacitly permits the continuation of violence against
women in the suburbs.

6. (SBU) Amara's grassroots work eventually drew the attention of
French society and French government authorities. In 2004 she was
appointed a member of France's Consultative Committee for Human
Rights, and in 2005 she was named to the "High Authority for the
Fight Against Discrimination" by then-President, Jacques Chirac. In
2007 she was appointed Secretary of State for Urban Policies by the
Sarkozy administration, and she now is working on government
solutions to the problems of the suburbs. "SOS Racisme" expressed
its support for Amara's nomination in a June 19 press statement:
"Fadela will devote her experience to the betterment of a project
that France has neglected for too long - the battle against
ghettoization and multiple discriminations that afflict inhabitants
of the country's underprivileged neighborhoods." Beyond a doubt,
Fadela Amara is an international woman of courage, who is leading
the way both as an activist, as a role model, and now as a high
ranking government official for the new generation of young women in
France to grow to their full potential. In our view, her selection
as an international woman of courage would further signal to girls
and young women in the suburbs of France that their full

PARIS 00004352 002.2 OF 002


participation in society is both needed and welcome.

Stapleton

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