Hanaa Edwar awarded with The Polish Prize of Sérgio Vieira de Mello

On October 26, in Krakow took place award ceremony of “The Polish Prize of Sérgio Vieira de Mello, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights” . The event was held under honorary patronage of Ambassador of Brazil to Poland, Ambassador of Sweden to Poland and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. The prize is awarded annually to persons and non-governmental organizations for their activities enhancing peaceful co-existence and cooperation of communities, religions and cultures.

The winner of the award was Hanaa Edward- prominent Iraqi lawyer, human rights and women’s rights activist and freedom of speech defender. Since 60s she has been fighting for democracy and observance of human rights in Iraq. At the end of 70s she took shelter in Kurdistan and along with Peshmerga fought against Saddam Hussein. She is co-founder and activist of Al-Amal Association promoting sustainable development and protecting human rights, co-founder of Civil Initiative to Preserve the Constitution and Iraqi Women’s Network. She is a great authority for human rights defenders throughout the Middle East

She was repeatedly awarded for her sacrifice, among others in 2011 she was awarded by UN mission in Iraq the Appreciation certificate of Human Rights Defender, in 2013 she was awarded by TAKREEM Foundation the award of Arab Woman of the Year in 2013. At the same time, her unwavering involvement was threatened with death.

The award for the Iraqi women’s rights activist is particularly important this year, as in Baghdad took place a series of murders of famous women, public mood is radicalizing and violent protests has shaken the whole country up.

The other laureates of De Mello Prize were Basil Kerski and Interfaith Council of Albania. Basil Kerski is cultural activist, publicist and political scientist, director of European Solidarity Centre, he has Iraqi origin. He works in favor of peaceful dialogue, especially Polish-German reconciliation. Interfaith of Albania consists of leaders of Catholic church, Orthodox Church and Islam. Thanks to their cooperation within the frame of this institution, Albania is a country famous for peaceful coexistence of various religions.  

This year was held jubilee, 15th edition of Polish Prize of Sérgio Vieira de Mello. The panel of judges of the prizes always follow situation in the Middle East with a great attention and many times rewarded individuals and organizations operating in this part of the world. Last year Barzani Charity Foudation was winner of the award, in previous editions there were among others: Staffan de Mistura, Bernard Kouchner, UNAMI organization.

As every year, Ziyad Raoof KRG Representative in Poland was invited to the ceremony. He had a chance to personally congratulate Hanaa Edwar.