Friday, January 9, 2009

News from Zimbabwe

Palestinian and Israeli rights groups honoured

A Dutch foundation commemorating the resistance movement of the Second World War has been giving this award since 1987 to acknowledge outstanding work for democracy and against dictatorship, racism and discrimination.
Al-Haq is an independent Palestinian group which attempts to document the stories of victims and eyewitnesses of human rights abuses.
The Ramallah-based organisation was founded in 1979 by a group of Palestinian lawyers. Using field workers in the Palestinian territories, the group documents human rights abuses by recording statements of victims and eyewitesses. Al-Haq is advocating the incorporation of international human rights rules into Palestine law.
B'Tselem informs Israelis about the human rights situation in the occupied Palestinian Territories. A broad grouping of academics, lawyers, journalists and parliamentarians set up the group in Jerusalem in 1989. A major aim is to have alleged abuses by the Israeli military or by the Israeli government investigated. B'Tselem was instrumental in starting a case over Israel's 700-mile long "security barrier" at the International Court of Justice in The Hague.
Both groups will be presented with the medal at an official ceremony in Amsterdam in March this year.

Earlier winners of the Geuzenpenning include the Anne Frank Foundation, former Czech president Václav Havel and Colombian politician and former hostage Ingrid Betancourt.
Geuzen was the Dutch word used to name those who fought in the 16th century against Spain for the independence of the Netherlands. The name was also used in the Second World War by a Dutch resistance group which fought the Nazis. The word originally meant 'beggars', while penning, in Dutch, means medal.
The design of the Geuzen Medal is inspired by a similar medal worn by the 16th Dutch resistance group, showing a handshake as a symbol of loyalty. The motto reads "Even if we are reduced to beggars".

Day Opening - January 9

Eiffel Tower during sunset. Picture taken along the Seine, near the Place de la Concorde.
Conception Pierre Bideau.