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Annette Weber, Rüdiger Nehberg and Prime Minister Peter Harry Carstensen

Rüdiger Nehberg and Annette Weber receive Orders of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany

“For outstanding commitment to the worldwide campaign against Female Genital Mutilation” Rüdiger Nehberg was awarded the Order of Merit First Class of the Federal Republic of Germany by the German Federal President. Annette Weber also received the Order of Merit. The Premier of Schleswig-Holstein, Peter Harry Carstensen, presented the two awards on Monday 21 January 2008 in Schloss Ahrensburg in Schleswig-Holstein.

The reasons cited for awarding these honours were as follows:
Rüdiger Nehberg ‘s name stands for a commitment stretching over a decade to protect the rights of threatened indigenous peoples and the natural environment. In 2001 he was awarded the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany for his work helping the Yanomami Indians in the Amazonian rainforest in Brazil. He continued his actions and was rewarded with other outstanding honours.

With the setting up in 2000 of the Human Rights Organisation TARGET, Nehberg’s unwavering commitment to the struggle against female genital mutilation in many African and Asian countries came to the fore. Together with his partner, Annette Weber, Nehberg involved TARGET in tough negotiations and thanks to his huge personal involvement ensured that this subject very quickly was granted special status in a large number of Islamic states.

Great praise was given for the Al-Azhar conference held in Cairo in November 2006. “We have Rüdiger Nehberg and Annette Weber to thank that female circumcision has had the rug pulled from underneath it”. He added, “and it is not only this project but the campaign as a whole, affecting over one and a half million girls and women worldwide, that is unparalleled in its success as a result of the activities of two committed Schleswig-Holsteiners. This represents an extraordinary achievement by the two human rights activists from Stormarn”.

Rüdiger Nehberg: “It is important that we work together as a couple. I have access to the men and Annette has gained the trust of the women. It was the women’s documentary film that proved decisive for the many decision makers in declaring the practice to be a sin”.
Annette Weber: “Today’s awards bolster us in our action against this horrendous crime against babies, young girls and women. The medals help foster further trust and open more doors into places where we are still unknown.”