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Brussels, 10 October 2011

Message of congratulation from Presidents Barroso and Van Rompuy to the winners of 2011 Nobel Peace Prize

We wholeheartedly congratulate Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and the two human rights activists Leymah Roberta Gbowee and Tawakkul Karman - the winners of the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize.

The decision of the Nobel Peace Prize Committee is recognition of the pivotal role that women play in the peaceful settlement of conflicts and democratic transformation throughout the world. This is a victory for a new democractic Africa and for a new democratic Arab world that live in peace and respect for human rights.

It is a strong signal of support to all who promote women's rights and non-discrimination. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Leymah Roberta Gbowee and Tawakkul Karman have been an inspiration to all those who defend women's active participation in social and political life and in peace-building. Women's empowerment is a strong tool of peaceful change towards better societies and a better world. The European Union will continue to stand for women's rights and gender equality in Europe and in the world. In the spirit of these 3 Nobel Prize winners, we urge all leaders worldwide to improve women's rights.

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