Despite the threats and the spread of Corona … Iraqi inspirational women win international awards


Despite the difficult conditions in Iraq due to the outbreak of the Corona pandemic and the gross violations of human rights, Iraqi women have not stopped giving and succeed in various fields of life, and some of them won important international prizes worldwide in 2020.

Human rights activist Intisar Al-Mayali, 49, was one of the most prominent winners, after the Swedish government awarded the Per Anger Prize for Human Rights and Democracy after being selected from a jury of 10 international organizations.

The descriptive statement of the jury stated that awarding Al-Mayali the award is the culmination of her leadership role in a “very dangerous” environment, after she succeeded in mobilizing large groups to work for democracy and human rights in Iraq, and helped monitor violations and demonstrate men’s violence against women, child marriage, and crimes. Murder in the name of honor.

Al-Mayali, winner of the Bear Anguer Prize for her leadership role in a “high-risk” environment (Al-Jazeera)

The statement adds that it has drawn attention to the urgent needs of women and girls who have been victims of ISIS crimes and torture. Despite extremism and serious threats, she fights for change, and has been working as a volunteer since 2003 for children and youth to have access to education and for women to have a place in political life.

Al-Mayali was born in Al-Hamza Al-Sharqi district of Al-Qadisiyah governorate, and grew up in the province of Najaf, where she completed her primary and middle school studies, and did not complete her studies due to the Second Gulf War in 1991, and began her civil and humanitarian volunteer activity in Najaf after 2003, and became involved in many fields, and decided in the year 2012 She completed her studies in Baghdad, and chose the scientific field that she liked, which is “plastic art”. She now holds a diploma from the Institute of Fine Arts with distinction.

The award is a shield and diploma offered by the Swedish government in the field of human rights and democracy, and the award also includes official interviews with Swedish ministers, organizations and press, and the honoring ceremony was held online due to the Corona pandemic.

Al-Mayali believes that the future holds a lot for her if there is will, hope and peace that makes women and men work for building a democratic state based on respect for human rights and justice for all citizens without discrimination.

Manar Al-Zubaidi won the Tulip Prize for her efforts in the field of women’s rights and minorities (Al-Jazeera)

Tulip Prize

The human rights activist and Al-Jazeera Net correspondent, Manar Abdul Amir Al-Zubaidi, 40, won the HUMAN RIGHTS TULIP AWARD from the Kingdom of the Netherlands for her efforts in the field of women’s and minority rights.

Al-Zubaidi – who is now a graduate student in the field of law – presented many activities and events through which she contributed to supporting women’s issues and in various fields. She was also the first to launch a campaign to support the Roma minority in Iraq under the title “The Gypsies are Humans”, and she achieved with the efforts of her team and volunteers Many gains for this group, such as opening a primary school for children after being deprived of education for more than 15 years, in addition to obtaining a decision from the Iraqi Ministry of Interior to grant the Roma the national card, and also provided many humanitarian and medical services, food aid and economic empowerment programs, and implemented integration programs. The community through many technical, sports and economic events.

Al-Zubaidi currently heads the Women’s Center for providing legal, social and health services in the “Awan” organization for awareness and capacity development to help women victims of domestic violence and electronic extortion. She has also provided other services in the various areas of awareness for girls and women in villages, rural areas and popular neighborhoods.

The Dutch government awards the Tulip for Human Rights Prize to influential people in their societies around the world, and the award includes a model of a tulip or lily, a certificate of appreciation and a financial grant to implement a number of community activities and events, in addition to a group meeting and workshops that bring together human rights influencers from the world in the Kingdom of the Netherlands. However, this paragraph was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but the honoring ceremony took place in 2020 at the headquarters of the Dutch embassy in Baghdad, in the presence of the Dutch ambassador, the ambassador of the European Union and the representative of women’s affairs in the United Nations Mission (UNAMI), as well as the High Commission for Human Rights in Iraq.

Al-Bahadli (third from the left) won the “Front Line” award for her efforts to protect women and girls affected by war (Al-Jazeera)

Frontline Award

The award of the “Front Line Defenders” regional organization for the Middle East and North Africa – based in Ireland – was given to Fatima Al-Bahadli (50 years) from Basra Governorate, among 5 other women, for her efforts in protecting women and girls affected by war and enhancing their role in peacebuilding, And also to end violence against women in areas where women are most marginalized, and I have also worked in the field of raising awareness among members of society about the impact of child marriage and early school dropout on women and girls.

The award included a silver object and a financial grant to implement a project serving the city of Basra, where Al-Bahadli resides, and the online handover ceremony took place due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Al-Bahadli – who holds a master’s degree in Arabic language – also works with youth to combat the militarization of society, fought against the recruitment of children and youth into armed groups, and worked to reintegrate them into society. She also provided literacy, education and skills workshops for various groups, and was subjected to many harassment and threats due to Its work and the conditions that Basra witnessed during the period of popular demonstrations.

The future is still unknown for women, especially women human rights defenders. It takes a lot of courage and challenge to continue in this field in order to obtain fair laws and inviolable rights, says Al-Bahadli.

Researcher Salam Abdul Karim obtained the title of arbitrator and Islamic expert certified by the International Islamic Center for Reconciliation and Arbitration (Al-Jazeera)

Islamic banking arbitration

The researcher and economic expert, Salam Abdul Karim Sumaisem (61), won the title of arbitrator and Islamic expert accredited by the International Islamic Center for Reconciliation and Arbitration, after passing her with high excellence, specialized training and rigorous testing, to become the first to obtain this title in Iraq.

Sumaisem grew up in the Kadhimiya district in the capital, Baghdad, and was removed from her government job for political reasons, and she was transferred to retirement “by force” in 2011, she says. She holds a PhD in the financial and economic field and is a brilliant economic analyst.

Sumaisem believes in herself as a woman and trusts in her specialization. Therefore, it works to confront the male monopoly in the field of money and economics, and has provided a lot of research and studies in this field, and has published its practical results in many Arab and international sites, and works on its own and without any government support or any other party.

Nagham Hassan provided medical support in areas of displacement and for survivors of ISIS (French) prisons

French-German Prize for Human Rights

Nagham Nawzat Hasan, 44, won the French-German Prize for Human Rights. She is a physician, obstetrician and gynecologist, and an activist in the field of human rights, especially women’s rights. She started her work since 2006 and is still continuing.

This award is awarded annually to a number of people who have dedicated their lives to serving humanity around the world, and Doctor Nagham was chosen from among 64 people around the world; For her efforts to support women victims of sexual violence, she has dedicated 5 actual years to this mission.

After ISIS invaded the Sinjar and Bashiqa regions in Mosul, all families – including the doctor Nagham’s family – fled to the Iraqi Kurdistan region, especially the Dohuk governorate, and specifically in the areas of displacement, Nagham volunteered to provide medical support, and when I heard the return of survivors who escaped from ISIS prisons, I decided to visit them And support them. It was difficult, but she was able to break the barrier of fear, gain their confidence, and then treat them, and their number was “in the hundreds”. After that, Dr. Nagham established a center to treat survivors with the support of the Kurdistan Regional Government of Iraq.

Nagham hopes that all displaced families will return to their original areas in Sinjar and compensate them, especially the survivors, with the need to empower them economically and financially, implement long-term programs and projects for their rehabilitation and integration into society, and open literacy education centers supported by the international and local communities.

Faten Al-Halfi won the imprint of a leader for her influential efforts in the field of human rights (Al-Jazeera)

An imprint of a leader

Activist Faten Abdel Wahid Al-Halfi (47 years) was awarded the “Fingerprint Leader” award for her influential efforts in the field of human rights. It is presented by the Arab Development Council for Women and Business, and it is awarded to women leaders who influence their societies and who leave an imprint through their work.

Al-Halfi grew up in Baghdad and still lives there. She holds a doctorate in international humanitarian law, and currently works as a member of the Iraqi High Commission for Human Rights.

Al-Halfi is very optimistic that the future will be prosperous for Iraqi women, to live in it without any discrimination or racism, as she sees every day an increasing determination of Iraqi women in all forums and fields to support women’s issues to reach justice and equality.

Sennar Hasan won first place for the year 2020 in the field of best press coverage of women’s issues from Internews (Al-Jazeera)

Best Press Coverage

Journalist Sennar Hassan, 26, won first place for the year 2020 in the field of best journalistic coverage of women’s issues from Internews in Iraq, and before that she won a grant from the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) to write about displaced and refugee issues, and then she became a member of the United Nations project. Special for journalists’ issues in areas experiencing security conflicts in Iraq, Syria and Yemen.

Sinnar won the award for her press reports on women’s issues in Iraqi displacement camps, and the serious violations they were subjected to. Most notably, extortion and physical exploitation, and this report is one of the closest works to her heart. Because through it she was able to reveal the serious violations that women in the camps were subjected to, and she was also able to draw the attention of her fellow journalists to the suffering of women in the camps.

Sennar holds a BA in English language translation and lives with her family in Baghdad. She has been working in the field of journalism for 3 years. She writes in politics, economics and human rights. She seeks to be influential in her field of work, far from being famous. She believes that achieving fame in the field of media. Easy, but the difficulty lies in the extent of the influence of the journalist through his work.

Sinnar believes that journalism is dangerous for all journalists of both sexes, but it is more dangerous for women because they are threatened or rejected by the family and society, just because they are a woman, but all of this is no longer an obstacle to her because of her focus on success and providing content different from what is produced by the local press.

Sennar believes that if adequate support was provided to journalists, press protection laws were enacted, and committees to eliminate gender discrimination at work were formed; Perhaps this will be an important motivation and opportunity for many female journalists to excel and succeed in the near future.

Journalist Arzu Nuri Hakim won the second place for the best press coverage of women’s issues in 2020, and the third place in the competition itself went to the journalist Nahla Najah, who also works as a reporter for Al-Jazeera Net.


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