Sudan: Global Human Rights Award for Sudan Women’s Activist

Dublin — Sudanese women’s rights activist, and head of the ‘No to Oppression of Women’ initiative (NWO), Amira Osman, has been named as one of the recipients of the 2022 Front Line Defenders Award for Human Rights Defenders at Risk. The awards honour the work of “human rights defenders who are courageously making outstanding contributions to the promotion and protection of the human rights of others, often at great personal risk to themselves”.

In a statement on Friday, the Dublin-based Front Line Defenders motivate the award, saying: “Amira has consistently advocated for democracy, human rights, and women’s rights. Since its establishment in 2009, the NWO Initiative launched campaigns against the Public Order Law, which would dictate what was proper for women to wear and how to act in public life while also allotting power to citizens to report such behaviours. The NWO Initiative was founded after Sudanese journalist Lubna Ahmed Al-Hussein and 13 other women were arrested and faced flogging for wearing trousers in public (a violation against the Public Order Law). In November 2019, the law was finally repealed. The Initiative also works with other NGOs and civil society organizations for the advocacy and advancement of women’s rights. Amira herself was previously a victim of human rights violations – in 2013, she was detained after she refused to put on her headscarf. Amira and the NWO have launched numerous campaigns against the Public Order Law. For her work, Amira has been a victim of unjust arrests and detention. In 2002, she was charged for wearing trousers, and in January 2022 she was taken from her house in Khartoum to an unknown location by armed security officers before being released on bail a week later. Nevertheless, Amira never deterred from her mission and actively participated in peaceful demonstrations.”

In an interview with Sudan Today on Radio Dabanga earlier this month, Amira Osman said that the award places an additional responsibility on her in defending human rights issues. She said that she considers the award “a tribute to the role of Sudanese women in the revolution”.

The other recipients of the 2022 awards are Liah Ghazanfar Jawad (Afghanistan), WHRD (identity withheld due to security concerns)(Belarus), Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ), and Javier del Tránsito and María del Tránsito Salvatierra (Mexico).