11 Dec 2011

Nobel Peace Prize women receive awards

6:09 pm on 11 December 2011

The 2011 Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to three women who have championed human rights and fought for peace.

Liberia's president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Liberian peace activist Leymah Gbowee, and Yemeni pro-democracy campaigner Tawakkol Karman received the award at a ceremony in Oslo.

Miss Karman, 32, is the youngest ever recipient of the peace prize and the first Arab woman to win the award in any category reports the ABC.

In her acceptance speech, she paid tribute to the activists in Syria and Yemen for fighting against repressive regimes and she says the movement must succeed by peaceful means.

Ms Gbowee, a social worker who led Liberia's women to defy feared warlords and bring an end to her country's bloody 1989-2003 civil war, hailed the Nobel Committee for shining the spotlight on women's struggle for peace and human rights, insisting "this prize could not have come at a better time than this."

Ms Sirleaf, Africa's first democratically elected woman president who last month won a second term, also hailed the Nobel Committee's focus on women's struggle after the world in recent decades has witnessed "unprecedented levels of cruelty directed against women" in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Sierra Leone and her own Liberia.