Photo: Damas en Blanco
Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs William Burns will present the Diplomacy for Human Rights Award, the Human Rights and Democracy Achievement Award, and the Human Rights Defenders Award in the Department of State’s Treaty Room, Thursday, April 21 at 11:30 a.m.
The Human Rights Defenders Award recognizes individuals or non-governmental organizations who show exceptional valor and leadership in advocating the protection of human rights and democracy in the face of government repression. The Department will honor the Cuban NGO Damas de Blanco – “Ladies in White”. Damas de Blanco’s visible, consistently observed vigils focused international attention not only on political prisoners, but the overall human rights situation in Cuba.
Ladies in White is an opposition movement in Cuba consisting of wives and other female relatives of jailed dissidents. The women protest the imprisonments by attending Mass each Sunday wearing white dresses and then silently walking through the streets dressed in white clothing. The color white is chosen to symbolize peace.
The movement received the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought from the European Parliament in 2005.