2009/03/11 Veronika Marchenko: ‘I Devote This Award to Anna Politkovskaya’
  • Press Release No. 23/1166
  • 11/03/2009

Today, 2009' March 11 (4:00 pm in Washington or midnight in Moscow), starts the International Women of Courage Award Ceremony.  Veronika Marchenko, head of the Mother's Right Foundation and the first Awardee from Russia, is to receive the Award from the US State Secretary, Hillary Clinton. Michelle Obama, wife of the US President, will take part in the Ceremony. Every year, 90 outstanding women from all over the world are nominated for the Award, and only 8 of them become Awardees. Besides Veronika Marchenko, the 2008 Women of Courage Award is conferred to the outstanding women from Afghanistan, Guatemala, Iraq, Yemen, Malaysia, Niger, Uzbekistan, with NGO leaders, a lawyer, a researcher and a professor among them.

Before the Public Forum, many people wanted to meet the Russian nominee (second right) personally. The days preceding today's Ceremony were full of meetings. On March 9-10, 2009, the Awardees followed a busy schedule participating in many events - meetings with American non-governmental and charitable organizations, the media, as well as round table talks devoted to the Human Rights Protection, etc.

The Public Forum titled ‘Women of Courage: Women of Vision', the first scheduled event, was held at the US State Department on March 9. The Awardees were introduced and each of them made a 10-minute speech. All of them started their speeches of reply by paying tribute to all the people who helped them to fight for the Human Rights and stressing that their Awards belonged to all the women of their countries.

In her speech, Veronika Marchenko said: ‘Like my colleagues, I appreciate this Award as recognition of the efforts of many people. I completely agree with those who have spoken before me. I think that the first Russian Awardee should have been journalist Anna Stepanovna Politkovskaya, who was killed because of her professional activities in Moscow on October 7, 2006. Anna's work was always of great assistance to the Mother's Right Foundation.'

Speaking of the Foundation's work, Veronika Marchenko mentioned the fact that compensation suits against guilty military units and organizations filed by the Mother's Right Foundation on behalf of dead soldiers' parents were caused by the huge number of deaths during the first Chechen War. Veronika Marchenko asserted: ‘The world knows only one category of the Chechen War victims - peaceful inhabitants of Chechnya, who suffered from military actions on their territory, and knows nothing about the second category of victims - young 18 year old boys, Russian servicemen sent to war. They had a small choice - to kill or to be killed. The second category of the Chechen war victims is little known outside Russia and I would like to correct this injustice.'

The Award history. The Award was initiated by Condoleezza Rice, professor, Doctor of Politology. As State Secretary (January 26, 2005 - January 20, 2009), Condoleezza Rice conducted the first two Award Ceremonies presenting diplomas to the 2006 and 2007 Awardees. The International Women of Courage Award is an annual award presented to 8 outstanding women from all over the world, who ‘fight and sacrifice so that future generations may benefit from human rights protections, access to justice and democracy, and greater prosperity and personal security in their countries' (Condoleezza Rice's Speech at the last year's Award Ceremony).

(C) Any use, citing this and other press -releases you MUST to refer to the "Mother's Right" Foundation!