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Former president Mary Robinson 'honoured' to receive Tipperary peace award

Former Irish president and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson is the recipient of this year's Tipperary International Peace Award.

Mrs Robinson was chosen for the accolade in recognition of her work to ensure that human rights issues are a central tenet of global politics and governance.

The announcement was made yesterday (Thursday) by the Tipperary Peace Convention who praised the current Chair of The Elders for "putting human rights standards at the heart of global governance by ensuring that the needs of the poorest and most vulnerable are addressed on the global stage".

Mrs Robinson joins a list of former winners which include Nelson Mandela, Bill Clinton, Mary McAleese, Malala Yousafzai, Ban-ki Moon and last year's recipient, former Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos.

"I am very honoured to receive the Tipperary International Peace Award, which is a wonderful example of a local community organising a prize for peace which has achieved wide international standing and recognition," she said.

Mrs Robinson, born in Ballina, Co Mayo, was elected as the first woman president of Ireland in 1990 and stayed in the role for seven years before serving as the UN's High Commissioner for Human Rights from 1997 to 2002.

She has worked in several UN Special Envoy positions and established the Mary Robinson Foundation for Climate Justice. She celebrated her 75th birthday in May.

"Mrs Robinson is a passionate, forceful advocate for gender equality, women’s participation in peace-building and human dignity in all regions of the world. Her advocacy on sustainable and people-centred development in the world’s poorest communities is recognised through her work on many international bodies," said Martin Quinn, Secretary of the Tipperary Peace Convention.

"A tireless champion of women’s equality, Mrs Robinson has travelled to many conflict zones to promote peace efforts and to encourage reconciliation and democratic transition.

She makes it a priority to bring the concerns of ordinary people to the global stage and is outspoken and dedicated to investigating and exposing human rights abuses across the world.

"Mrs Robinson is an outspoken advocate on the effects of climate change and of the need to focus the world’s attention to meet the urgent challenges posed by extreme weather events on the poorest and on the most vulnerable of communities," he said.

The Convention was founded in 1983 to promote peace and co-operation on a national and international stage, with the first Tipperary peace prize awarded to Sean McBride in 1984.

Other nominees for the 2018 award were climate change activist Greta Thunberg; Sister Orla Treacy, a humanitarian worker in South Sudan; Prime Minister of Ethiopia Dr Abiy Ahmed; President of Eritrea Isaias Afwerki; Nigerian humanitarian activist Zannah Bukar Mustapha and African Union Youth Envoy Aya Chebbi.

The award will be presented to Mrs Robinson at a ceremony in Tipperary Town on November 7.