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Liberia's President wins Nobel Peace Prize

WINNERS: President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, left, and Leymah Gbowee were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize it was announced earlier

LIBERIA'S PRESIDENT was today (Oct 7) awarded with the Nobel Peace Prize for her ongoing fight for women's rights, it has been announced.

President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf was honoured alongside fellow Liberian, Leymah Gbowee and Yemeni, Tawakul Karman for their 'non-violent struggle for the safety of women,' Nobel Peace Prize committee's leader, Thorbjørn Jagland said.

"We have decided to award them for their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women's rights to full participation in peace-building work. We cannot achieve democracy and lasting peace in the world unless women obtain the same opportunities as men to influence developments at all levels of society," Jagland commented after the announcement.

Johnson-Sirleaf, who is Africa's first democratically elected female President, has contributed to securing peace in Liberia and strengthening the position of women since coming into office in 2005 the committee said.

"This is a great recognition for both my own and others' struggle for democracy in Africa and Liberia," President Johnson-Sirleaf said on her win.

"This is important for us [Gbowee], African women and democracy in Africa," she continued.

Leymah Gbowee has worked tirelessly to organise women across ethnic and religious dividing lines to bring an end to the long war in Liberia, and to ensure women's participation in elections.

While Tawakkul Karman received the honour for the leading role she played in the struggle for women's rights and for democracy and peace in Yemen.

In its closing statements, the committee said it hoped the prize would help to bring an end to the suppression of women and to realise the great potential for democracy and peace that women can represent.

The women will share the $1.5m (£1m) prize money

Johnson-Sirleaf and Gbowee are the second and third African women to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize after the late Professor Wangari Maathai triumphed in 2004.

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