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2007 Gégé Katana winner of 2007 Front Line Award for Human Rights Defenders at Risk
Gégé Katana is a leading human rights defender working in Uvira, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Gégé Katana is the president of Solidarite des Femmmes Activistes pour la Defense des Droits Humains, SOFAD (Solidarity Movement of Women Human Rights Activists) 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.
The scale and horror of sexual violence against women and girls in Eastern DRC prompted Gégé Katana to work with SOFAD. The total lack of 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 and rape.
Gégé Katana has been the victim of ongoing persecution on account of her work on behalf of human rights. She has been arbitrarily arrested on several occasions. Her house has been physically attacked a number of times. In 2004, armed men completely stripped her house of all her belongings. She has received death threats from the Congolese army and other armed factions.
In 2000, for a period of one month while carrying out research on the situation of women in Banyamurenge, she received a series of death threats. Her movements are under constant surveillance. She was completely banned from travelling between 1996 and 2003. Following this persecution she suffered from trauma for a prolonged period of time. Many of her colleagues, friends and neighbours have disassociated themselves from her out of fear, having received threats from various armed groups and the state.