World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


“Angel Of Burundi” Awarded UN Refugee Prize

“Angel Of Burundi” Awarded UN-Cosponsored Refugee Prize

A woman known as the “Angel of Burundi” for her dedication to saving and educating children in her war-torn country was last night awarded the 2005 Nansen Refugee Award, presented by a United Nations refugee official and a member of the Belgian royal family at a celebrity-packed ceremony in the elegant Concert Noble in Brussels.

Marguerite Barankitse, a Burundian Tutsi who sheltered her seven adopted Hutu and Tutsi children throughout the massacres of the civil war and went on to assist 10,000 more by founding three centres for traumatized children, was presented with the prize by Princess Mathilde of Belgium and Wendy Chamberlin, the Deputy High Commissioner of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

Accepting the award, Barankitse said her work was inspired by one single goal: peace. "Accept your fellow man, sit down together, make this world a world of brothers and sisters," she said. Among the many people she helped were Burundian refugees returning to their country after a long exile in Tanzania.

The Deputy High Commissioner applauded Barankitse's contribution to building a more peaceful world by teaching children of all ethnic origins that co-existence is possible. "Throughout her work with her organisation, Maison Shalom, Marguerite Barankitse sends a message of hope for the future," said Chamberlin. "Her actions are clear evidence that individual courage and commitment can make a difference in our world."

High Commissioner António Guterres, who was on mission in Uganda, sent a videotaped message congratulating Barankitse with the award: "Your story is a shining example to those who may have lost everything that there are still wonderful people in this world who deeply care about others."

Created in 1954, the Nansen Refugee Award is named after Fridtjof Nansen, the Norwegian explorer who was the League of Nations' High Commissioner for Refugees. As such, he was the world's first international refugee official. The prize is given annually to individuals or organizations to honour distinguished service in the cause of refugees.

The winner is selected each year by a Committee composed of the governments of Norway and Switzerland, UNHCR, the Council of Europe and the International Council of Voluntary Agencies. Last year's prize went to the Russian non-governmental organisation, Memorial Human Rights Center.

© Scoop Media

World Headlines


At The UN: Paris Climate Agreement Moves Closer To Entry Into Force

The Paris Agreement on climate change moved closer toward entering into force in 2016 as 31 more countries joined the agreement today at a special event hosted by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. More>>



Gordon Campbell: On The End Game In Spain (And Other World News)

The coverage of international news seems almost entirely dependent on a random selection of whatever some overseas news agency happens to be carrying overnight... Here are a few interesting international stories that have largely flown beneath the radar this past week. More>>

Amnesty/Human Rights Watch: Appalling Abuse, Neglect Of Refugees On Nauru

Refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru, most of whom have been held there for three years, routinely face neglect by health workers and other service providers who have been hired by the Australian government, as well as frequent unpunished assaults by local Nauruans. More>>


Other Australian Detention

Gordon Campbell: On The Censorship Havoc In South Africa’s State Broadcaster

Demands have included an order to staff that there should be no further negative news about the country’s President Jacob Zuma, and SABC camera operators responsible for choosing camera angles that have allegedly made the President ‘look shorter’ were to be retrained... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On A Bad Week For Malcolm Turnbull, And The Queen

Malcolm Turnbull’s immediate goal – mere survival – is still within his grasp... In every other respect though, this election has been a total disaster for the Liberals. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Bidding Bye Bye To Boris

Boris Johnson’s exit from the contest for Conservative Party leadership supports the conspiracy theory that he never really expected the “Leave” option to win the referendum – and he has no intention now of picking up the poisoned chalice that managing the outcome will entail... More>>


Get More From Scoop

Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news