Iran: Shadi Sadr wins 2009 Human Rights Defenders Tulip Award

WLUML Networkers

WLUML is delighted to announce that Ms. Shadi Sadr is the recipient of the 2009 Tulip Award, the Dutch Human Rights Defenders Award. "Shadi Sadr is being awarded the Human Rights Defenders Tulip for her exceptional courage, perseverance and work in an environment of concern, where human rights are repeatedly violated," said the Dutch Foreign Minister, Mr Verhagen, who will present the award in The Hague on November 9, 2009.

Ms. Sadr is a courageous journalist, human rights lawyer, women’s human rights defender, and one of the most prolific women activists in Iran and in the region as a whole. She focuses in particular on ending the death penalty and stoning, as well as on women's rights and equality under law and within cultural norms.

She began her activism in Iran as columnist and editor of national newspapers, most of which were successively banned by the Iranian government since 1997. Despite of this, Shadi Sadr continues to write in other online journals she has helped to establish, such as Meydaan and Women in Iran, the first women’s website in Farsi. She is also actively involved in legal research and film-making in order to bring the attention of the international community to discriminatory laws and resulting human rights abuses.

In 2004 Ms. Sadr founded the now-banned Raahi Institute, which provided legal counsel for marginalized women, legal literacy to young lawyers, and implemented empowerment projects. Founder of the Iranian campaign Stop Stoning Forever (SSF) in 2005, and Advisor to the Global Campaign to Stop Killing and Stoning Women! (SKSW Campaign), Shadi is also Council member and an active networker of WLUML.

Her tireless defence of human rights has resulted in successful court cases where women human rights’ defenders and journalists who were sentenced to execution by the state were released. The case of Ms. Mokarrameh Ebrahimi, who was released in 2007 from Choobin Prison in Iran, where she had been imprisoned for ten years awaiting execution by stoning for adultery, reveals Shadi’s outstanding legal advocacy.

The bravery of Ms. Sadr’s activism and campaigning for women’s rights in Iran has not wavered despite her arrests in March 2007 and in July 2009, for her peaceful defence of women’s human rights. She bravely continues her work, in the unflinching belief that if people were given information about the realities of stoning and other manifestations of discrimination against women, they would change their views and that changes to the law would follow.

The granting of the Human Rights Defenders Tulip Award recognizes the invaluable activism of Ms. Sadr and of all women human rights activists in Iran and in the rest of the world. The award is also a boost for all those activists who protested peacefully for democracy after the electoral fraud in Iran and are now mercilessly prosecuted by the Iranian government. WLUML nominated Ms. Sadr in the hope that this award would grant her personal safety and further support in her campaigns.