The names in the photo are from left to right: Anthony Waldhausen – Director & Founder of Gay & Lesbian Network, Mr Jacques Lapouge – French Ambassador to South Africa and Mr Desmond Lejenane – Deputy Director of Sonke Gender Justice Network


Press release from Gay & Lesbian Network, Pietermaritzburg


The Gay & Lesbian Network received a special distinction award from the French National Consultative Commission on Human Rights.


The awarded was hosted by the French Ambassador, Mr Jacques Lapouge yesterday evening 31 January 2012 at the French Ambassador’s residence in Pretoria. The award included a medal and certificate.


The distinction has been granted in recognition of Gay & Lesbian Network's work and active involvement in supporting the advancement of Human Rights in South Africa, especially with regards to fighting against human rights violations on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender.


The Network submitted an application for the 2011 Human Rights Prize of the French Republic and although the Network didn’t win the prize it was however bestowed a special distinction with six other organisations worldwide, two of which are South Africans. The other South African organisation was the Sonke Gender Justice Network.


Anthony Waldhausen, director of the Gay & Lesbian Network said “It’s an honour and privilege to have received this award and recognition and would like to acknowledge staff, volunteers, EXCO and our partners who work sternly and passionately to realising the Network’s vision. I would like to dedicate this award to all gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, intersex people worldwide who face on-going discrimination, persecution and even murder – we will endure with the struggle and are with you all, each day of your life in the hope that this scourge of homophobia is eliminated from the face of the earth.


Nothing will stop our resolve to ensure a just and free society for all.


I would also like to congratulate Sonke Gender Justice Network who also shared this award with us and hope to network and partner together with them in the future.”


In attendance included various dignitaries from embassies, SA Human Rights Commission, donors, NGOs and Mr Gay SA 2011-Lance Weyer.


Founded in 1988, the prize is awarded every year in complete independence by the French National Consultative Commission on Human Rights (CNCDH) and rewards human rights defenders around the world for their action on the ground. This prize presented by the Prime Minister of the French government, is awarded to individual or collective action on the ground, irrespective of nationality or borders, undertaken in France or abroad, with respect to specific themes every year. In 2011, the themes were the fight against human rights violations on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity and combating violence against women. This year around 160 organisations have applied for the prize.

You can find more information on the CNCDH website: www.cncdh.fr

 For more information about the award please contact Aurélie Voix at the French Embassy at Tel: 012 – 4251718 or aurelie.voix@diplomatie.gouv.fr and Anthony Waldhausen at Tel: 033-3426165 or director@gaylesbiankzn.org


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