Yanar Mohammed Receives Human Rights Award

yanar1The Eleanor Roosevelt Global Women’s Rights award was presented to Yanar Mohammed, the president of OWFI in recognition of her endeavors in voicing Iraqi women and protecting their rights in the post-war Iraq.

The award celebration was attended by an audience of 300 including key figures from Los Angeles on May 14 th. Four women were honored by this award for their achievement for women and human rights: Dr. Sima Samar, chair of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission and highest-ranking female in the Afghan government , Dr. Rebbecca Gomberts, founder of Women on Waves, a mobile clinic offering safe abortions and inspiring legalization campaigns internationally; and Laurie David, environmental leader and producer of the Oscar-winning film, An Inconvenient Truth, in addition to Yanar Mohammed, the president of the Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq.

The event followed a meeting with the board of the organizers of the event, the Feminist Majority Foundation in which there was full agreement to an anti-occupation and a pro-women agenda. Questions of ways to support the endeavors of OWFI were discussed in this meeting. The Feminist Majority president, Elly Smeal focused on working towards pressuring the congress to draft an “Iraqi Women’s Empowerment Act” in a way similar to the “Afghani Women’s Empowerment Act”. The draft and lobby towards having the government sign it was made possible two years ago by this same group. This 2006 Act allocated funds for social development of Afghani women through social, educational and economic programs.

Yanaraward0307Further communication among FMF leaders, Kathy Spillar and Elly Smeal from one side and Yanar Mohammed from the OWFI is being planned for studying the initiative. Furthermore, the Feminist Majority Foundation is participating on the campaign against the honour-killing of Doa Khalil which OWFI has launched internationally; a collaboration which will boost the campaign with signatures and support.

The organizers of the event managed a local and international media campaign in order to gain visibility for the Iraqi and Afghani women’s defenders. Interviews with BBC radio, NPR, Democracy Now, and many local televisions and radios were aired before and after May 14.

A weekly anti-war gathering of Los Angeles invited Yanar Mohammed to speak for Mothers Day. The event took place on the beach where US soldiers’ dead bodies are counted symbolically by crosses in the sand. One of the organizers, Code Pink director, Jody Evans introduced Yanar’s speech to the anti-war crowd. Minoo Hemati from the Iranian Rahaii Zan – the organization for Emancipation of Women- was present in the gathering and interviewed Yanar Mohammed for the English segment of the Iranian women’s TV.

Al Mousawat Media Center

May 23rd, 2007

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