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UB's Mutua to be White House Guest of the Obamas for Role in RFK Human Rights Award

Release Date: November 20, 2009

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Makau Mutua will be a guest of the White House Monday for his role in helping select the recipient of this year's Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award.

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- University at Buffalo Law School Dean Makau W. Mutua will be a guest of President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, at a ceremony in the White House on Nov. 23 for his role as one of five international and national human rights experts who selected the recipient of this year's Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award.

The award, presented by Ethel Kennedy, will be given to Magodonga Mahlangu and her organization, Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA). Mutua and the four other judges chose Mahlangu and WOZA for organizing more than 60,000 Zimbabweans in an ongoing campaign of non-violent action against injustice, exploitive social conditions and oppression of women's rights.

Mutua -- who was named dean of the UB Law School in 2008 -- is recognized as one of the world's foremost authorities in human rights law. He is an internationally known scholar who works on human rights issues around the world and serves as chair of the Kenya Human Rights Commission.

The Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award was established in 1984 to honor courageous and innovative human rights defenders throughout the world who stand up against injustice, often at great personal risk. The award includes a cash prize of $30,000 and on-going legal, advocacy and technical support through a partnership with the RFK Center.

Mahlangu has been arrested more than 30 times in the course of her work as a human rights defender. Along with WOZA co-founder Jenni Williams, she has led campaigns with WOZA supporters to address many of the most crucial human rights issues facing Zimbabwean women, including domestic violence and rape, the right to food and education for children, the rights to participation and the right to association.

For more information, visit http://www.rfkcenter.org/node/370.

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Media Contact Information

Charles Anzalone
Senior Editor, Law, Social Work and Education
Tel: 716-645-4600
anzalon@buffalo.edu