Holland Scoops $50 000 Peace Award

The shocking awarding of the US$50 000 prize was announced on Monday at a ceremony hosted by the Australian Embassy in Harare, Meredith Burgmann.
However, human rights activists accuse Holland’s ministry of being a ‘paper tiger’ and highly ineffective.
The critics charge that her ministry has dismally failed in its mandate set under the Global Political Agreement to specifically heal, reconcile as well as integrate Zimbabweans after the bloody 2008 harmonised elections which Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s faction says left more than 500 of its supporters dead due to state-sponsored violence.
The Sydney Peace Prize jury’s citation reads:  “Sekai Holland: for a lifetime of outstanding courage in campaigning for human rights and democracy, for challenging violence in all its forms and for giving such astute and brave leadership for the empowerment of women.”
Professor Stuart Rees, Chair of the Sydney Peace Foundation said, “In addition to her work for the education of rural women and her founding of Australia’s anti Apartheid movement fifty years ago, Sekai Holland has been a significant leader of non violent, democracy campaigns, and is a key figure in her country’s national dialogue on how to heal the deep wounds of social conflict.”
Holland, whose ministry has been rated as one of the least performing if not the worst, was caught unawares by the accolade.
“This award comes as a wonderful surprise but one which is so encouraging. I accept on behalf of the brave women I have worked with for so many years and for my colleagues in our present Organ for National Healing Reconciliation and Integration. I also acknowledge the long term support and friendship which I have received from Australian Aboriginal campaigners for human rights and for peace with justice,” she said.
2012 marks the 15th year of the Sydney Peace Prize, Australia’s only international award for peace.
Sometimes perceived as controversial, previous recipients have included Professor Muhammad Yunus, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Dr Hanan Ashrawi, former Governor General Sir William Deane, Australia’s ‘Father of Reconciliation’ Patrick Dodson, the Indian novelist and human rights campaigner Arundhati Roy and last year the distinguished American academic and activist, Professor Noam Chomsky.
Holland will travel to Australia in November to give the City of Sydney Peace Prize Lecture in the Sydney Town Hall on Wednesday November 7th and will receive the 2012 Peace Prize ($50,000 and a trophy crafted by the artist in glass at a gala on November 8th.