Congolese nun named winner of world's top refugee award

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Sister Angélique Namaika is a familiar sight on her bicycle, which she uses to visit the girls she helps in Dungu and nearby villages – UNHCR/B.Sokol

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on Tuesday announced that this year's Nansen Refugee Award is being awarded to Sister Angelique Namaika, who works in the remote north east region of Democratic Republic of the Congo with survivors of displacement and abuse by the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA).

Sister Angélique, through her Centre for Reintegration and Development, has helped transform the lives of more than 2,000 women and girls who have been forced from their homes and abused, mainly by the LRA. Many of those she helps recount stories of abduction, forced labour, beatings, murder, rape and other human rights abuses.

Her one-on-one approach helps them recover from the trauma and damage. On top of the abuse they have suffered, these vulnerable women and girls are often ostracized by their own families and communities because of their ordeal.

UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres commended this year's laureate saying "Sister Angélique works tirelessly to help women and girls who are extremely vulnerable due to their trauma, poverty and displacement. The challenges are massive, which makes her work all the more remarkable – she doesn't allow anything to stand in her way."

The announcement of the 2013 Nansen prize coincides with the release of a report about life for those displaced by LRA violence.

Donn Bobb, United Nations.

Duration:  1’16″

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