Winner of the Human Rights Defenders Tulip 2009: Shadi Sadr
The Iranian human rights lawyer Shadi Sadr received the Human Rights Defenders Tulip 2009 from the Dutch government in recognition of the moral courage and perseverance she has shown in protecting and promoting the rights of her fellow citizens.
In his award ceremony speech, Minister Verhagen (Foreign Affairs) described her as an ordinary woman who has performed great deeds and, in doing so, changed the views of the world. “The courage she has shown and continues to show, the struggle she has undertaken and her work make her extraordinary.”
Shadi Sadr has committed herself – as a lawyer, journalist and researcher – to women’s rights in Iran. In 2004, she set up Raahi, an organisation that researches ways to improve women’s rights. Raahi defends women who find themselves in very difficult positions – at no cost – primarily with respect to family law. Sadr is also a prominent advocate of the movement to end stoning in Iran. She is a co-founder of the Stop Stoning Forever campaign.
In her acceptance speech, Sadr recalled that women – especially girls – were at the forefront of the recent demonstrations against the Iranian leaders. She urged international governments not to forget those protestors, to continue monitoring human rights in Tehran and to bring those responsible for human rights violations to justice.
Sadr’s peaceful efforts on behalf of others have had a lot of negative consequences for her personally. She is continually under surveillance and threatened. In 2005, a one-year travel ban was imposed on her. In March 2007, she was arrested and jailed. During the riots that followed the presidential elections on 12 June 2009, she was again taken into custody – violently this time – and spent eleven days in jail.
The Chair of the jury that creates the shortlist for the Human Rights Defenders Tulip award, Cisca Dresselhuys, emphasised the fact that the Netherlands does not look the other way and wishes to honour, encourage and support those who participate in the struggle for human rights.