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Betty Bigombe receives France’s highest honour

Analysis

Betty Bigombe receives France’s highest honour

A statement from the Embassy of France in Uganda noted that Bigombe’s honour is in recognition of her contributions towards peace building and human rights defence, among others.

The Legion of Honour was established as a national award by Emperor Napoleon I in 1802. It is bestowed upon people from all walks of life, both French and foreign nationals, who have made outstanding achievements in various fields: Heads of State and Government, civil society activists, military officers, intellectuals, sports, entertainment etc.

The decoration has five different grades: Chevalier (Knight), Officier (Officer), Commandeur (Commander), Grand Officier (Grand Officer) and Grand Croix (Grand Cross).

Bigombe was decorated at a colourful ceremony at the residence of the French Ambassador to Uganda in Nakasero this week.

She received glowing tributes from the hosts as well as from local Ugandans who commended her efforts, as member of government and activist, in peace building, promotion of dialogue, advocacy for the rights of women and children in conflict and post conflict situations, environmental protection…

While working for the United Nations, Bigombe initiated the first peace talks between the government of Uganda and the rebels of the Lord’s Resistance Army led by Joseph Kony back in the early 2000s. Her initial is believed to have laid the ground work for later negotiations.

Although a peace agreement was never signed between the LRA and government, she is credited for having saved thousands of lives of women and children by drawing the attention of the international community to the plight of the people of Northern Uganda where she is born.

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