A great deal of abuse is inflicted on women and minorities in many conflicts around the world today. Sexual violence is often part of battle plans, and Iraq is just one of many places where women’s rights are sacrificed for political and military objectives. Yanar Mohammed works on three fronts to secure the rights of vulnerable groups. She works with local organisations throughout Iraq to teach classes on human rights, and as a journalist she spreads the word about rights and democracy. She lobbies for human rights in Iraq and internationally, building networks and alliances in the struggle against violence, human trafficking and sex slavery. And Mohammed and the OWFI provide protection for victims of abuse committed by militia groups and others.
Mohammed speaks out publicly and fearlessly on behalf of human rights and equality. She challenges the authorities to do more for Iraqi women and is not afraid to point to violations of fundamental human rights locally and internationally.
By awarding Yanar Mohammed the Rafto Prize for 2016, the Rafto Foundation wishes to highlight the serious human rights violations occurring in Iraq, the lack of legal protection that affects women and vulnerable groups in particular, and the crucial importance of providing protection to human rights defenders.
Yanar Mohammed visiting Yazidi women in a refugee camp near the city of Dohuk in Kurdistan, September 2015. Photo: OWFI