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2008 Gruber Women's Rights Prize

2008 Women's rights Prize Recipients

Laureate Profile

Sapana Pradhan Malla, a practicing lawyer before the Supreme Court of Nepal, has been involved in almost all leading public interest litigation in that country, including equality in inheritance, legalization of abortion, criminalization of marital rape, equality in marriage and family law. She has succeeded in getting the Court to agree to maintain confidentiality in cases related to violence against women and cases involving HIV and AIDS, and to enforce confidentiality in all stages of the justice system. Vice president of the Legal Aid Consultancy Center and National Coordinator for the South Asian Women Law Association, she has brought several landmark cases to the Supreme Court of Nepal and been instrumental in the most recent legal reforms protecting the fundamental reproductive and property rights of women in Nepal.

Yanar Mohammed has spoken out publicly, in spite of the danger to her own life, against the religious fundamentalism and nationalism that serve to oppress the women of Iraq and the Middle East. In 2003, she co-founded Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq (OWFI) to help achieve full equality for women in post-war Iraq. She is the publisher of Al Mousawat, which calls for full equality for women. Mohammed and her organization have opened two women’s shelters and several safe houses to protect women threatened by domestic abuse and what are termed honor killings. She trains activists in how to confront gender bias growing out of long-held cultural beliefs and practices. She has built support for women’s rights in Iraq at the grassroots and national level through OWFI and has fought for constitutional changes that would extend greater rights and protection to women and girls.

Dr. Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian is a criminologist and specialist in human rights and women’s rights. She has conducted academic research that examines the multiple forms of violence inflicted upon Palestinian women and girls. A prolific author and university professor, she writes and lectures around the world on issues of violence against women, particularly in the Arab world. She also consulted with Human Rights Watch on its most recent report on violence against Palestinian women in Israel and with the Unifem division of the United Nations, and has been director of the Gender Study Project at Mada al-Carmel in Haifa since 2006.


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The 2008 Gruber Women’s Rights Prize is proudly presented to: Yanar Mohammed, Sapana Pradhan Malla, and Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian, three activists devoted to enhancing women’s rights and empowering women under the most difficult conditions of armed conflict and war:

Yanar Mohammed, co-founder of the Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq (OWFI), for fighting tirelessly to stop the eradication of women’s rights in Iraq. OWFI is a women’s organization that has continued to speak out openly for women’s rights against all odds.

Sapana Pradhan Malla, a member of Nepal’s Constituent Assembly, for fighting to include women’s human rights in the constitution and, as a member of the Forum for Women, Law & Development (FWLD), for leading the successful effort to decriminalize abortion and to criminalize marital rape.

Dr. Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian, a Palestinian feminist activist and researcher, for concentrating on sexual abuse and femicide, a term she coined for the abuse that puts women in a state of living death during times of war.

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