Prestigious award recognizes bold Egyptian woman human rights defender Mozn Hassan and Nazra for Feminist Studies

Update: November 29, 2016

Last week, Egyptian woman human rights defender and Global Fund for Women Board member Mozn Hassan accepted the 2016 Right Livelihod Award on behalf of Nazra for Feminist Studies with a passionate speech on the next generation of women human rights defenders carrying forward the century-old feminist movement in Egypt.

“This award is not only a recognition of Nazra’s work, it is a recognition of a century of feminist activism in our country that has inspired us and that we have sought to carry on as much as we can,” said Mozn Hassan in her speech accepting the award, which she delivered from Egypt given her current travel ban. “Perhaps it has not been highlighted enough elsewhere but this movement has made us who we are today and our work is concerned mainly with sustaining and developing this movement with all its diversity.”

Mozn and Nazra were recognized as Laureates of this year’s award, often referred to as the ‘Alternative Nobel Prize’, for their bold work in moving the needle on women’s human rights and gender equality in Egypt, where they are experiencing a crackdown on human rights and feminist spaces.

At the end of her speech, Mozn announced that Nazra for Feminist Studies will be using the Right Livelihood Award money to establish a new women’s fund in the Middle East and North Africa.

“In a region ridden by conflicts and where women’s human rights are being undermined, where civil society and feminists are persecuted, and where there are not enough resources, we hope that the establishment of this fund, by the end of 2017, will help new generations of feminists in the region to carry on the struggle for women’s human rights and to continue dreaming of a better future for women in our region and in the world, as we always have and still do,” explained Mozn.

On International Women Human Rights Defenders Day, recognized on November 29, we renew our solidarity with Mozn and condemn the Egyptian authorities’ treatment of Mozn and other women human rights defenders. Today and everyday, we celebrate the brave and inspiring work of DefendHers around the world, and stand strong in our determination to support them in the face of growing risks, harassment, and threats. Join us and take action.

 

September 28, 2016

We are thrilled to commend Global Fund for Women Board member and women human rights defender Mozn Hassan and Nazra for Feminist Studies on their very deserving recognition as Laureates of the 2016 Right Livelihood Award.

On Thursday, the Laureates of the 2016 Right Livelihood Award, widely referred to as the ‘Alternative Nobel Prize’, were announced in Sweden. Mozn Hassan and Nazra for Feminist Studies were recognized “for asserting the equality and rights of women in circumstances where they are subject to ongoing violence, abuse, and discrimination.”

Mozn and Nazra are extremely deserving of this prestigious recognition, especially as in the past year has brought renewed struggles, with a significant escalation of the Egyptian government’s crackdown on human rights and feminist spaces.

“This award further acknowledges Mozn’s bold leadership and activism, her relentless courage and determination to stand up for women’s human rights, and her commitment to empowering others in Egypt,” said Dr. Musimbi Kanyoro, President and CEO of Global Fund for Women. “Now more than ever all of us in the international community must get loud to stand in solidarity with Mozn Hassan and Nazra for Feminist Studies, and condemn the Egyptian authorities’ treatment of Mozn.”

Nazra for Feminist Studies, founded by Mozn Hassan in 2007, is a prominent women’s rights organization whose efforts to strengthen the Egyptian feminist movement, defend women’s human rights, end sexual violence, and empower young women leaders have had a crucial impact on women’s rights in Egypt and throughout the Middle East and North Africa. The group has taken leading roles and positions in defending women’s human rights, combating sexual violence, supporting young women to run for office, and educating a new generation of young feminists.

At the end of June 2016, in the latest in a string of attempts by the Egyptian government to block Mozn from continuing to defend human rights, Mozn Hassan was banned from traveling outside of Egypt by the government while at passport control at the Cairo airport, as she was traveling to attend the meeting of the Women Human Rights Defenders regional coalition.

Travel bans are another form of judicial harassment against women human rights defenders to try to block them from effectively doing their work and an attempt by authorities to hurt the public image of Mozn and other activists, sending the message that they are “criminals” who refuse to live in their country and are planning to leave and never come back.

“Today, we celebrate the brave and inspiring work and achievements of Mozn and the other laureates from Syria, Russia, and Turkey,” says Zahra Vieneuve, Global Fund for Women’s Program Officer for the Middle East and North Africa. “Those of us who know Mozn and Nazra are aware of how much they deserve this award and it’s great that now many more people will hear about them. In learning about their work, people all over the world will also learn what it means to be resiliently committed to human rights amidst direct and structural violence.”

As the prestigious Right Livelihood Award recognizes, Mozn and the bold women at Nazra for Feminist Studies have dedicated years of efforts to Egypt to advance the human rights of their fellow citizens.

Presented in Stockholm since 1980, the Right Livelihood Award is presented to Laureates for their ongoing successful work and particularly supports the work of activists who may be in danger due to the nature of their activities.

In 2013, Global Fund for Women recognized Mozn Hassan for her bold leadership and critical work with Nazra for Feminist Studies in Egypt as a recipient of the Charlotte Bunch Women’s Human Rights Defender Award.