Lawyer Mtetwa honoured

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Beatrice Mtetwa, one of Zimbabwe’s top human rights lawyers and a member of the Zimbabwe-United States Alumni Association (ZUSAA), has been awarded the Inamori Ethics Prize by Case Western Reserve University in Ohio, US.

The Inamori International Centre for Ethics and Excellence at Case Western Reserve University will present Mtetwa with the prize at a ceremony at the Ohio campus in September, where she is expected to give a lecture about her work and challenges that lie ahead. Mtetwa was selected from nominations solicited from leaders, scholars, and organisations around the world.

She said the award belonged to all Zimbabwean human rights lawyers and institutions fighting for the upholding of human rights in the country.

“I feel honoured for the entire human rights community in Zimbabwe,” Mtetwa said of the award.

First allotted in 2008, the Inamori Ethics Prize honours outstanding ethical leaders whose actions and influence have helped to change the world since that year.

In honouring Mtetwa, the university said the human rights lawyer had demonstrated exemplary ethical leadership, and her actions and influence had greatly improved the condition of humankind.

Part of the selection panel’s citation reads: “Dragged, beaten and nearly choked to death, Mtetwa has not wavered in her quest to use the law to further a free press for foreign and domestic reporters and to fight for social justice for her country’s most vulnerable residents, particularly women . . . ”

The award carries with it a monetary award, which is intended to support Mtetwa’s ongoing work for justice.

Previous recipients of the award include Francis S Collins, a physician-geneticist and the first recipient of the Inamori Ethics Prize; former UN High Commissioner on Human Rights and the first woman president of Ireland, Mary Robinson; and Stan Brock, a humanitarian, conservationist and former co-host of the television show, Wild Kingdom.

Last year, the American Bar Association gave Mtetwa its prized International Human Rights Award for her “extraordinary contributions to the cause of human rights, the rule of law, and the promotion of access to justice” in Zimbabwe.