International prize for Dutch diplomat

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Dutch diplomat Caecilia Wijgers has been honoured for her commitment to promoting democracy in Cuba.

The Dutch foreign ministry announced on Saturday that Ms Wijgers received the first Palmer Prize for Diplomats during a ministerial conference on democracy in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius.

The Palmer Prize - named after a former US ambassador to Hungary - was created to honour diplomats who under difficult circumstances continue to fight for democracy in the country where they have been stationed.

Between 2005 and 2009, Ms Wijgers fought for freedom of speech and free access to information for civil society, journalists and human rights activists in Cuba. She was the then deputy ambassador to Cuba.

Ms Wijgers said she was honoured to receive the Palmer Prize: “Through its human rights strategy, the Netherlands invests worldwide in basic rights such as the freedom of speech and access to information, but fundamental changes can only take place with the active support of the local population. As a diplomat, there is a variety of ways in which you can stimulate that process.”


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