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Fariba Davoodi Mohajer, Prominent Human and Women's Rights Activist, Receives 2007 Human Rights First Award

On Monday, October 15, 2007, Human Rights First brought together Iranian human rights advocates, international activists, celebrities, and philanthropists for its 2007 Human Rights Award Dinner, recognizing extraordinary work in the past year to end human rights violations around the world. Dinner host Meredith Vieira of NBC's "Today" show and HRF board member Sigourney Weaver were among the 1,000 people at the annual gathering, held at New York's Chelsea Piers.

Iranian women's leader Fariba Davoodi Mohajer, one of the founders of the One Million Signatures Campaign for women's rights, received the 2007 Human Rights Award for dedicating her life to challenging laws that discriminate against Iranian women, including the lack of legal recourse for victims of violence.


Fariba Davoodi Mohajer is a prominent journalist and a life-long feminist and human rights activist.  Ms. Davoodi Mohajer has been quite active in the women's movement.  She was specially active in one of the most important women's rights  organizations, "Women Cultural Center." Additionally, Ms. Davoodi Mohajer, along with a number of other prominent women's rights activists, participated in various international and local conferences dealing with the Iranian women's rights movement and human rights issues.  In these conferences, Ms. Davoodi Mohajer bravely criticized the non-democratic activities of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and addressed the on-going violations of human rights by the ruling authorities.

Ms. Davoodi Mohajer has written numerous articles and has delivered countless speeches regarding the rights of women, democracy, and human rights in Iran and abroad.  She has participated in numerous protests, meetings and demonstrations in support of gender equality, abolishment of  executions by public stoning, and free attendance of women in soccer stadium and sporting venues.  In 2001, Ms. Davoodi Mohajer was arrested in her home in Tehran and beaten in front of her children.  She was imprisoned and interrogated for 40 days – blindfolded, in solitary confinement, in an unknown location.  Her crime:  writing newspaper articles and speaking at universities bringing attention to the serial murders of writers in her country and calling for political reform and women's rights in Iran.   She was tried and sentenced to 2 years suspended prison sentence. Since then, she has written for a string of now-banned publications, led several of the most prominent pro-reform groups, and become an organizer of the growing women's movement in Iran.

In 2006, when hundreds of women took to the streets to demanding their equality before the law, Fariba was once again arrested and subsequently released on bail. She and the other women leaders were not discouraged.  They decided that since they were prohibited from voicing their opinions as journalists, lawyers, judges, or politicians – and could not gather in the streets – they would go door-to-door to educate women about the laws that violated their basic rights.  This effort, called the
One Million Signatures Campaign, has drawn the attention of men and women inside and outside Iran, and has become the most powerful pro-reform movement in Iran today.

On April 18, 2007, in a closed trial at which Ms. Davoodi Mohajer was not present, the Iranian court convicted her of violating national security laws because of her role in the 2006 protests.  She received a four year sentence.  Now living abroad, Ms. Davoodi Mohajer continues to work tirelessly to raise awareness of the laws that treat women like second-class citizens in Iran.  She hopes to return to Iran in the coming months even though she will face imprisonment.

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... Payvand News - 10/29/07 ... --

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