Narges Mohammadi, a prominent Iranian human rights activist and women’s rights defender, has been awarded the 2023 Nobel Peace Prize for “her fight against the oppression of women in Iran and her fight to promote human rights and freedom for all”, the Norwegian Nobel Committee announced on Friday.
A voice for the voiceless
Mohammadi, 51, is the former vice president of the Defenders of Human Rights Center (DHRC), an organization founded by Nobel laureate Shirin Ebadi in 2001. She has been involved in various campaigns for democracy, civil society, and social justice in Iran, such as the abolition of the death penalty, the protection of political prisoners, and the empowerment of women.
She has also been a vocal critic of the Iranian regime’s human rights violations, corruption, and repression. She has faced harassment, intimidation, arrest, torture, and imprisonment for her peaceful activism. She is currently serving a 12-year sentence in Evin prison, a notorious facility where many dissidents and activists are held.
A symbol of resistance and hope
The Nobel Committee praised Mohammadi as “a symbol of resistance and hope for many Iranians who suffer under an authoritarian regime that denies them basic rights and freedoms”. The Committee also expressed its concern about her health and well-being, and called on the Iranian authorities to release her immediately and unconditionally.
The Committee said that Mohammadi’s award was also a recognition of the “brave and inspiring” women’s movement in Iran, which has been challenging the patriarchal system and demanding equal rights and opportunities for decades. The Committee noted that Mohammadi’s work is in line with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, especially Goal 5 on gender equality and women’s empowerment.
A message to the world
Mohammadi’s award was welcomed by many human rights organizations, activists, and supporters around the world. Amnesty International said that Mohammadi “embodies the spirit of peaceful resistance in the face of injustice and oppression”. Human Rights Watch said that Mohammadi “has shown extraordinary courage and commitment in defending human rights in Iran despite the immense personal cost”.
Mohammadi’s husband, Taghi Rahmani, who lives in exile in France with their two children, said that he was “overwhelmed with joy” and that his wife’s award was “a message to the world that human rights matter”. He also said that he hoped that his wife would be able to receive her prize in person in Oslo on December 10.