Grace Antonia D’Almeida – Benin

Linked with our presentation of Network of African Women Ministers and Parliamentarians REFAMP.

Linked also with our presentation of UNFPA.

Goes with ‘Assuming Authority‘.

She is one of the 1000 women proposed fort the Nobel Peace Price 2005.

Her fight against forced marriages was a project that covered several areas and especially towns of north and south Benin and the lake-bordered towns.

Grace Antonia D’Almeida – Benin

She works for the Association des Femmes Juristes du Bénin (AFJB), and for the Network of the Women Ministers and Parliamentarians.

A lawyer, Grace Antonia D’Almeida (1951–2005) was divorced and the mother of three children. She enjoyed her work and excelled at everything she did. She, indeed, was a great fighter in the women’s movement in Africa and world-wide. She passed away in early 2005.The work of the AFJB was especially beneficial to rural women and women lawyers of the sub-regions who undertook an appeal on the status of women. Nevertheless, Grace Antonia never lost sight of the fact that she achieved the results she did because she and her colleagues took courage in their two hands to confront the challenges, among which was the hostility of men and traditional leaders towards the legal status of women. Many meetings were held with these hostile people to get them to embrace the initiatives of the AFJB.

D’Almeida accumulated several diplomas in France before arriving in Benin. In 1978 she obtained a degree of further studies on rights at the University of Paris. A year later, she obtained a certificate as a practicing lawyer from the university of Paris II (November 1977). At the same time she got a master’s degree in Private Rights and in 1976 a license in the previous disciplines at the University of Paris II. It was in 1972 that she took the baccalaureate series A at the School of Guebwiller (High Rhine) in France. D’Almeida then specialized in civil and commercial rights of workers and maritime law. In 1990, she was the one of the stars of the Benin national conference, a lively force of the nation as legal counselor. She was the only woman in the transitional parliament and was promoted, after this, to president of the Law Commission and Supervisor of the Elections.

In 1995 she went into government while occupying the chair of Guard of Seals and Minister of Justice of her country. It was the first time that a woman held this portfolio.

Grace Antonia had a rich international career as a high-ranking official of the United Nations Development Programme posted in Haiti for three years. She reinforced the capacities of the judiciary while establishing the basis for a more rational legal organization and has reinforced those on the fringes of Haitian civil society, all while supporting the Office for the Protection of Citizens. Until her death in 2005, Grace Antonia was a lawyer in the Court of Benin and an international consultant in the area of justice, human rights, democracy, good governance and electoral assistance. She was responsible for the International Network of Consultant (RIC), and was vice-president of the Network of Women Ministers and Parliamentariams of Benin since October 2004.

D’Almeida had great expertise in the area of rights, in the development of strategy and international development politics, and in the identification of activities linked to development problems in developing countries. She was also a specialist on legal issues and the author of about 30 publications in areas of her expertise. (See all this on this 1000 peacewomen page).

links:

Womens Lawyers Associations in Africa (and other continents);

The Human Rights Databank of AFJB.

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