RAWA Receives the 20th International Alfonso Comín Award
Barcelona, Spain, 25 November 2003

Barcelona, 30 June 2003

Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA)

The Fundación Alfonso Comín is pleased to inform you that you have been proposed as a candidate to receive the International Alfonso Comín Award.

The Alfonso Comín Foundation grants an international award every year to individuals or groups of people who have been prominent in their struggle for justice, freedom, peace and human rights. Over the years the award has been given to the Nicaraguan People through its Chancellor Miguel d’Escoto (1984), Father José Mª de Llanos S.J. (Madrid) engaged in the struggle on behalf of the poor (1985). It was also awarded to Nelson Mandela when he was still in prison and received on his behalf by a family member and the representative of the African Congress in Europe (1986). Other recipients have been Leonardo Boff (Brazil), liberation theologian, (1987), the Palestinian People, and as a worthy representative of its cause, the former mayor of Nablus, Bassam Al-Shaakaa (1988), the University of Central-America in San Salvador and its rector Ignacio Ellacuría S.J., murdered in El Salvador together with five Jesuits and two women ten days after receiving the award in Barcelona (1989), Alexander Dubcek, Prague Spring leader (1990), the innocent victims from the Irak People during the so-called Gulf War (1991), Pedro Casaldàliga, bishop of São Félix do Araguaia, Mato Grosso, Brazil (1992), the Bosnian city of Tuzla and the editors and employees of the Oslobedenje newspaper in Sarajevo (1993), the displaced children of the Sudan war (1994). Abbé Pierre (Paris), founder of Emaús Ragpickers (1995), Salima Ghezali, Algerine chief editor of the weekly, “La Nation” (1996), Vandana Shiva, Indian scientist committed to the ecologist and feminist movements of her country (1997), Sola Sierra, chairwoman of the Association of Families of the Detained-Disappeared of Chile (1998), the Kurdish people (1999), the "Andalucía Acoge" Pro-Foreign Immigrant Federation (2000), the Landless Workers' Movement (MST) of Brazil (2001), and The Jerusalem Link (2002). The International Alfonso Comín Award is a prestigious award both nationally and internationally.

Alfonso Comín (1933-1980) was an intellectual and a Catholic and Marxist politician. He dedicated his entire life to safeguarding equal rights, freedom, justice and peace, and was involved in the liberation of the working class and all causes aimed at securing liberty for humankind. The Foundation was created in 1983 and is a private foundation.

The Foundation is working in the presently troubled situation of the world, inspired and led by the philosophy which guided Alfonso Comín’s life and work, serving the most unfortunate in the struggle to build a fairer, freer world characterised by greater solidarity.

The award ceremony for this Award is held in the Salón de Ciento of the City Council of Barcelona and will be presided over by the mayor of the City. In the ceremony, a speech presenting the award will be given by a person designated by the Foundation, followed by another speech given by the person receiving the award. The award is sponsored by the City Council.

The International Alfonso Comín award ceremony is an open event with an attendance of around 500 that is widely reported in media by radio, television and newspapers. In addition, interviews are held every year with the person or organization receiving the award. We are not sure if it would be possible for you to appear in the press and television media, or if this would cause you serious problems in your country for safety reasons. On the other hand, media coverage might increase public awareness of the situation in Afghanistan and of the enormous efforts you are making on behalf of your people. If it would be a problem for you to appear in the media, we could try to find some way to protect the person coming to receive the award, since it is essential that the person traveling to Barcelona to collect the award be a representative of RAWA. A ready solution for the newspaper interviews can be found, since a photograph of the interviewee is not essential or a photograph can be taken with backlighting to prevent identification. The day when the award is given will be more difficult, however, because the various media will be taping and taking photographs throughout the ceremony and one of the purposes of the award is precisely to maximize media coverage in order to increase an awareness of the situation and of the merit of the party receiving the award.

The mayor of Barcelona, Joan Clos, has suggested that the award ceremony in the Salón de Ciento of the City Council be held on November 25th. Naturally, the Foundation would pay for travel and accommodation expenses for the person coming to Barcelona to receive the award. There are two options: either you could let us know which airline we should contact so the Foundation can send the airline tickets wherever you choose, or you could purchase the ticket yourselves and we can reimburse you when you arrive to Barcelona. I would like to suggest that the person come on November 22nd and leave the morning of the 29th, if possible. I understand that the ticket will be more economical if the entire stay covers seven nights. In any case, the person must arrive at least one day before the award ceremony so the media interviews can be held.

I would like to congratulate you on the enormous efforts you are making on behalf of your people and hope you will be able to come to receive the Alfonso Comín Award.

We look forward to hearing from you shortly. Yours sincerely,

Maria Lluïsa Oliveres
Foundation President

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