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Zimbabwean Human Rights Defender in Ottawa

    May 31, 2011

    The struggle for basic rights in Zimbabwe will be examined in meetings and talks this week in Ottawa by Jenni Williams, the Executive Director of powerful social justice movement led by and for women called Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA).

    Jenni Williams is in Ottawa after attending a special joint Annual General Meeting of the English and French branches of Amnesty International Canada in Montreal 28-29 May marking 50 years of work by the international organization.

    WOZA was formed in 2003 to defend human rights amidst the political violence in Zimbabwe, and continues their work today by mobilizing to improve living conditions for all Zimbabweans. At the age of 47, Jenni Williams has experience more brutality than most of us will face in a lifetime. WOZA members constantly experience harassment and abuse by the police for engaging in peaceful forms of activism.

    As Executive Director and co-founder of WOZA, Jenni Williams has been repeatedly arrested, almost 40 times, and beaten by police during peaceful protests. On 15 April 2010, she and 3 colleagues were arrested for protesting poor electricity services. They spent 6 days in Harare Central police cells before being released without being charged in court.

    Williams’ work she has been nominated for many international awards. On 7 March 2007, Williams was presented with the USA International Women of Courage award.

    On Thursday, 2 June Amnesty International and The Institute of African Studies at Carleton University will host a free lecture, “Hand in Hand We Shall Bring Zimbabwe Back” about the extreme challenges and violence facing women activists in Zimbabwe, and the inspiring work that WOZA is doing to face these challenges head-on.

    What: A talk by Jenni Williams, Executive Director of Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA)
    When: Thursday, 2 June 2011  7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
    Where: 2017 Dunton Tower Carleton University (Arts Lounge) (for directions go to: www1.carleton.ca/campus/)

    John Tackaberry,
    Media Relations,
    Amnesty International Canada
    613-744-7667, ext 236

    Beth Berton-Hunter,
    Media Relations,
    Amnesty International Canada
    416-363-9933, ext. 332

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