Afghanistan Analysts Network – English

Rights and Freedoms

Nobel Peace Prize: Not Sima, Again

Thomas Ruttig < 1 min

Congratulations to Tawakul Karman from Yemen and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Leymah Gbowee from Liberia for this year’s Nobel Peace Price. The citation given by the Swedish committee that awards the prize is also to the point: it was given for the three laureats’ ‘non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work’, hoping that the prize would ‘help to bring an end to the suppression of women that still occurs in many countries, and to realise the great potential for democracy and peace that women can represent’.

These words, though, also would have fitted to the work of Sima Samar, who also was a candidate again, and the AIHRC headed by her in Afghanistan. Therefore, there is an even bigger streak of disappointment for an Afghanistan watcher about the composition of the three prize winners, the maximum number set by the committee’s criteria.

Although it is laudable that the Nobel committee chose women from Liberia, a country not in the limelight anymore, also because it achieved a degree of stabilisation Afghans are craving for, and almost even more the courage that it chose an Islamist* women activist for democratic rights from an Arab country, it would have been great if there had been one Afghan women, and progressive politician, amongst the three winners. Particularly in this year of 2011 when Afghanistan started its enteqal away from the front pages, as Western soldiers – and attention – are starting to leave.* Reportedly, she is member of Islah Party.


Nobel Prize Sima Samar