Iraqi activist Yanar Mohammed wins Norway rights prize

Yanar Mohammed isa co-founder of the Organisation of Women’s Freedom in Iraq, which provides protection to female victims of violence.
A file picture photo showing Yanar Muhammed, head of Organisation for Women Freedom in Iraq (OWFI) who on 29 September 2016 awarded the Rafta Prize for her untiring work for women and minority groups in the war-torn Iraq.  Ali Haider/EPA
A file picture photo showing Yanar Muhammed, head of Organisation for Women Freedom in Iraq (OWFI) who on 29 September 2016 awarded the Rafta Prize for her untiring work for women and minority groups in the war-torn Iraq. Ali Haider/EPA

OSLO // Norway’s Rafto Prize for human rights was on Thursday awarded to Yanar Mohammed of Iraq for her efforts to help minorities and women subjected to sexual abuse in her country.

Ms Mohammed, 55, a journalist, feminist and campaigner for democratic principles and human rights, is the co-founder and head of the Organisation of Women’s Freedom in Iraq, which provides protection to female victims of violence.

“Sexual violence is often part of battle plans, and Iraq is just one of many places where women’s rights are sacrificed for political and military objectives,” said the Rafto Foundation. “There has been a huge increase in Iraq in abuse and violence against women, including rape, abduction into prostitution and honour killings.”

Human rights violations are being committed by many parties in Iraq, not only ISIL extremists but also the Iraqi authorities and groups supported by the international community.

Among previous winners of the Rafto Prize — named after Norwegian historian and human rights activist Thorolf Rafto — are four who have gone on to win the Nobel Peace Prize, also awarded in Norway: Aung San Suu Kyi of Myanmar, Jose Ramos-Horta, the former president of East Timor, Kim Dae-Jung of South Korea and Iranian human rights activist Shirin Ebadi.

The winner of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize will be announced on October 7.

* Agence France Presse

Published: September 29, 2016 04:00 AM

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