Gege Katana – Human Rights Defender

Gege Katana, a human rights defender for 25 years from the Democratic Republic of Congo has been awarded this year’s Front Line Defender Award in Dublin. Gégé Katana founded the “Solidarity Movement of Women Human Rights Activists based in Uvira in South Kivu province. She has been prevented from travelling, arrested and received death threats over the past 25 years of activism.

Gégé Katana, 42, is a leading human rights defender working in Uvira, eastern DRC. She is the president of SOFAD, an organisation that works through a grassroots network of 625 women to research and campaign against sexual violence, and provide counselling and help to rape survivors. SOFAD also educates local communities on women and children’s rights, and lobbies the government to deliver justice and reform discriminatory laws.

Gégé Katana has worked with several non-governmental organisations including; IDEA/Afrique – Institut pour le developpement et l’education des adultes. She is a network member of the Global Fund for Women and Coordinator for the Synergie des Femmes Defenseurs des Droits de le l’Homme du Sud-Kivu en RDC (SYFEDH).

The scale and horror of sexual violence against women and girls in Eastern DRC prompted Gégé Katana to work with SOFAD and the lack of existing structures for combating gross violations of human rights, especially perpetuated against women was a significant motivating factor in her fight for women’s rights and human rights. The principal violations of human rights in the region are, forced displacement, arbitrary arrests, torture, rape and pillage.

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“For me, winning the award is a recognition of my work as a human rights defender and gives me the strength and encouragement to pursue my struggle in the area of human rights. I cannot fully express my joy in receiving this award, nor my gratitude towards Front Line for supporting and helping me in my work.”

Video: Her work with Women in the DRC

All the nominees for Human Rights Defenders at Risk: Akifa Aliyeva, Gégé Katana,Jackeline Rojas,Radhia Nasraoui,Riza Fanilag

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