Written By: Hakim Bigzaad
Shahrazad Akbar expressed her mixed feelings about such awards, stating, “I have mixed emotions about these awards because Afghan women are not in a position to celebrate them, but it opens up an opportunity for advocating human rights in Afghanistan on global platforms, allowing us to raise our voices.”
The Friedrich Ebert Foundation in Germany, the oldest organization in Germany dedicated to promoting democracy, has announced that the 2023 Human Rights Prize has been awarded to Shahrazad Akbar, the former chair of the Independent Human Rights Commission of Afghanistan.
In a statement released on Saturday, the Friedrich Ebert Foundation in Germany, the country’s oldest organization dedicated to promoting democracy, announced that the 2023 Human Rights Prize was awarded to Shahrazad Akbar, the former chair of Afghanistan’s Independent Human Rights Commission.
The organization stated that Ms Shahrazad Akbar is a staunch supporter of democracy and a defender of human rights who has not only condemned the actions of the Taliban towards women but also criticized the previous government.
The organization’s statement further highlighted that awarding this prize to Shahrazad Akbar demonstrates solidarity with Afghan women who have suffered greatly under the dire humanitarian conditions in Afghanistan following the collapse of the republic’s government and the Taliban’s takeover.
The award is set to be presented to Shahrazad Akbar on November 28th, 2023, in a ceremony.
In a conversation with Khaama Press, Ms Akbar expresses mixed emotions about receiving such awards at a time when Afghan women are living in absolute darkness. Still, she sees it as an opportunity to advocate for human rights in Afghanistan on global platforms, allowing their voices to be heard.
Shahrazad Akbar served as the head of Afghanistan’s Independent Human Rights Commission from 2019 to 2021, and the Friedrich Ebert Foundation in Germany recognized her as a genuine human rights defender in 2023.
Meanwhile, Ms. Akbar sought refuge outside the country with the resurgence of the Taliban administration on August 15, 2021. She is regarded as one of the leading human rights advocates who has consistently championed women’s rights, especially during the Ashraf Ghani government, and continues to raise awareness about the conditions of women’s lives in Afghanistan on international platforms.
According to Ms Shahrazad Akbar, the situation for women in Afghanistan amounts to gender apartheid, and the interim government’s actions over the past two years, such as depriving girls of education and banning women from working, have resulted in widespread human rights violations.
She currently works as the head of the human rights organization “Rawadari,” focusing on assessing the human rights situation in Afghanistan and raising awareness about the living conditions of women in the country.
The former chair of the Independent Human Rights Commission of Afghanistan believes that global community engagement with the Taliban over the past two years has not yielded positive results, and alternative approaches should be considered.
The Human Rights Prize of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung was first awarded in 1994 and has since been given annually, by the will of the Hamburg couple, Carl and Aida Fiest, to prominent figures in the field of democracy advocacy. In their will, the founders stated that the foundation should manage their legacy and award the Human Rights Prize each year.
This award is presented to individuals or organizations that have made outstanding contributions to human rights in various parts of the world.