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Sunday, March 26, 2017
Chile: CAFOD section leader wins top award
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 Clare Dixon, Head of the Latin America Section at CAFOD, was awarded the Silva Henríquez Medal on a visit to Chile last week. The honour is the Chilean Church's most important award for human rights and solidarity work in the country and Clare is one of only two non-Chileans to receive it. Cardinal Raúl Silva Henríquez was one of the leading Catholic Church figures in Latin America during the late 20th century. As the head of the Chilean Church during the dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet, he was a staunch critic of the military regime and a defender of the rights of the people. He died in 1999. During Pinochet's rule from 1973 to 1990, more than 100,000 people were tortured or detained. More than 3,000 political opponents were killed. Clare Dixon became involved in the country in the 1970s working with refugees for the Chile Committee for Human Rights and went on to lead CAFOD's high profile Chile programme. Clare said the award came as an enormous surprise. She had gone to meet some CAFOD partners in Santiago only to find a packed auditorium filled with hundreds of people she had worked with over the years. She said: "I was really overwhelmed, now I know what it feels like to be on 'This is Your Life'. I feel both humbled and enormously privileged to have been able to work for Chile and to have learned so much from CAFOD's partners there over the years." Head of Cardinal Silva's Human Rights Office, Mgr Cristián Precht said: "Clare is a prototype of what the Pope would call today 'the new inspiration of charity' - someone who has discovered the tremendous efficacy of closeness, who has accompanied us and encouraged us to seek to out both the old and the new faces of poverty." Clare Dixon received an OBE in the 2003 Queen's New Year Honours list for her contribution to development.
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