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Beatrice Mtetwa awarded international Ethics prize
Alex Bell, SW Radio Africa
April 04, 2011

Human rights attorney Beatrice Mtetwa has been awarded another international prize, for her work defending Zimbabwean rights activists and other victims of human rights abuses.

The Case Western Reserve University in America will recognise Mtetwa with the 2011 Inamori Ethics Prize, which recognises "outstanding international ethical leaders." According to the University the prize is awarded to an individual "who has demonstrated exemplary ethical leadership and whose actions and influence have greatly improved the condition of humankind."

The center said in a press release that Mtetwa is a "hero to victims of human rights abuses, civil society activists and foreign journalists covering unrest in her country."

"Mtetwa has fought against Robert Mugabe's efforts to silence and hide conditions in Zimbabwe, and she has become a hero to his victims, from the country's most vulnerable citizens to reporters from some of the world's most prominent news outlets," the Center said.

The Center's Director and Professor of Ethics, Shannon French, had high praise for the rights defender and paid tribute to her humble beginnings.

Mtetwa was born in 1958 in Swaziland and was the first in her family to graduate from college. She earned a law degree from the University of Botswana and Swaziland and served as a prosecutor in Swaziland before moving to Zimbabwe. She left public service to open a private practice in 1989 and "her sense of fairness earned her a reputation as an advocate for the repressed, especially for those suffering under Mugabe's rule."

What is unique about Mtetwa's non-violent struggles French said, is that she has "created a public history of court records and newspaper articles that chronicle the actions of corrupt and unjust governments and will serve as a legacy for current and future generations."

"It was truly a gratifying bolt from the blue and a wonderful start to a year which we all hope will bring better things to the long suffering people of Zimbabwe," Mtetwa said of the award. "I am humbled by this honor, which I gratefully accept on behalf of all the human rights defenders in Zimbabwe."

SW Radio Africa is Zimbabwe's Independent Voice and broadcasts on Short Wave 4880 KHz in the 60m band.

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