It's like a war - Zim bishop

Bishop Bakare of Zimbabwe awarded the Per Anger prize

Bishop Sebastian Bakare, representing the Anglican Church in Zimbabwe, has been awarded the 2008 Per Anger prize for his committed work for human rights in a politically unstable Zimbabwe. Bakare will participate in the prize giving ceremony on 10 November, and is the main speaker during the HR conference in LuleƄ on 13-14 November.

As bishop of the Anglican Church in Zimbabwe, Sebastian Bakare has for many years fought for the situation and rights in society of vulnerable people. Despite the limited ability of civil society to act, he has worked constructively for people’s right to freedom of speech and protection against oppression.

Bakare is an incredibly important voice in the Zimbabwe of today, which is characterized by a difficult political and humanitarian situation, with record inflation and growing famine; a country where government-backed police and military persecute dissidents and those who protest against violence and political oppression. Bishop Bakare has himself received threats as a result of his open and clear criticism of the government, his condemnation of local police brutality and his defence of human rights.

The Living History Forum has been commissioned by the Swedish government to award the prize in the spirit of ambassador Per Anger. The prize was first awarded in 2004. ”The prize is awarded to persons displaying great bravery and initiative. They have acted for no personal gain and often at great personal risk. With this award, we want to inspire people to make a stand, to dare to contradict and to show moral courage. Good role models are important”, says Eskil Frank, Director.

The basic criteria for the choice of prize winner is that he/she does work that promotes democracy and humanitarian efforts, is characterized by active measures and initiative, works for no personal gain, takes great personal risks, displays great courage and is a role model for others.

This year’s prize citation: For having given voice to the fight against oppression and for the freedom of speech and of opinion in a difficult political situation, with courage and personal sacrifice, Bishop Sebastian Bakare is awarded the 2008 Per Anger Prize for humanitarian and democracy-promoting work.


From: news24 (South Africa)

It's like a war - Zim bishop

Stockholm - An Anglican bishop from Zimbabwe on Monday expressed grave concern over the situation in his country, sentiments that were echoed by a Swedish cabinet minister.
"It is like a war, in the sense that there is total absence of peace," Bishop Sebastian Bakare told Swedish radio news.

Bakare was in Sweden to accept the Per Anger Prize, a human rights prize for his efforts at fighting oppression.

"People are crying, no food, no water, no medication," Bakare earlier told broadcaster TV4. "Some are displaced, children are not going to school. I think every aspect of our society you look at is crying."

Bakare expressed doubts about the call for power-sharing of the home affairs ministry between Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and his arch-rival, prime minister-designate Morgan Tsvangirai.

A summit of southern African leaders called for this on Sunday, but Tsvangirai questioned the viability of sharing the key ministry.

The bishop said he had "never had any trust in any compromise in government. You either win or you lose. The elections in March were decisive enough, that is what the people wished."
"People need to have a strong government to put the economic situation in a better position, not this wishy-washy kind of argument," he added, saying that he was optimistic that "one day Zimbabwe is going to be free."

International Development Co-operation Minister Gunilla Carlsson said she was "disappointed" that the emergency summit of the 15-nation Southern African Development Community (SADC) had failed to break the deadlock between Mugabe and Tsvangirai.

Bishop Bakare speaking in Sweden

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