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Congolese nun wins UNHCR prize for helping victims of LRA


September 17, 2013 (KAMPALA) - The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on Tuesday announced Sister Angélique Namaika, a Congolese nun, winner of the 2013 Nansen prize for her work with victims of the Lords Resistance Army (LRA) in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

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Sister Angélique Namaika (globalsolutions)

The LRA, a Ugandan rebel group that has since been flushed out the country has been accused of gross human rights violations in other countries in the Great Lakes besides Uganda.

The Nansen prize, which comes with a prize of US$100,000, is named after Fridtj Nansen, a Norwegian and first League of Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and winner of the 1922 Nobel Peace accolade.

Namaika won the prize for her work at the Centre for Reintegration and Development, located in a remote part of eastern Congo, which has helped transform the lives of more than 2,000 women and girls abducted and abused by the LRA, according to UNHCR.

"Her one-on-one approach helps them recover from the trauma and damage. On top of the abuse they have suffered, these vulnerable women and girls are often ostracized by their own families and communities because of their ordeal’’, the refugee agency said in a statement issued Tuesday.

UNHCR further said of her "It takes a special kind of care to help them heal and to pick up the pieces of their lives. Sister Angélique does this by helping them learn a trade, start a small business or go back to school."

The UN’s High Commissioner for Refugees, António Guterres, commended the Congolese nun for her work.

"Sister Angélique works tirelessly to help women and girls who are extremely vulnerable due to their trauma, poverty and displacement. The challenges are massive, which makes her work all the more remarkable –she doesn’t allow anything to stand in her way".

About 320,000 people have been displaced by violence orchestrated by the LRA in Dungu, eastern DRC.

The Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC) in 2005 indicted Joseph Kony and his key commanders for crimes against humanity, genocide and war crimes.


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