The 2010 Tipperary International Peace Prize is being awarded to Afghan human rights activist, Dr. Sima Samar. The announcement was made on January 1 in a statement issued by Tipperary Peace Convention.
The statement says that Dr. Samar is an amazingly brave woman who has risked her life to fight for the rights of women and girls in both Afghanistan and Pakistan.
"Dr. Samar has devoted her life to fighting for freedom and democracy in Afghanistan, putting her life in immense risk and overcoming numerous obstacles for the welfare of oppressed women and children.
"She has led a life full of firsts, displaying remarkable courage and commitment in improving the lives of Afghan girls and women and has refused to yield on principle — even at the risk to her own life.
Dr. Simar is a principled and outspoken proponent of human rights and the need for a true reconciliatory process, and is a very worthy recipient of the Tipperary International Peace Award".
Currently, Dr. Samar leads the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC). A medical doctor by profession, she served as the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Sudan from 2005 to 2009. She has been heavily engaged in humanitarian welfare work, establishing Shuhada, an organization that focuses on health care, particularly to female Afghans.
In 2002, Samar was appointed as a Minister of Women's Affairs in Hamid Karzai's transitional administration. She has been under frequent attacks from both conservative religious leaders and from Islamist radicals, and she is a prominent voice for the rights of women.
Samar was nominated for the post of United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in 2008. She has had to repeatedly flee for her life but has insisted on returning time and time again to treat the poor and to fight for the rights and education of females in Afghanistan and Pakistan. In Afghanistan, the AIHRC has played an important role in monitoring human rights abuses, including bringing attention to the issue of civilian casualties.
Dr. Simar will travel to Tipperary on a date to be arranged in 2011 to receive the specially commissioned Tipperary Crystal Peace Award.
Previous recipients of the Tipperary International Peace Award include former South African President Nelson Mandela; Live Aid organiser, Bob Geldof; former US President Bill Clinton; the Cluster Munition Coalition; GOAL founder John O'Shea and the late US Senator Edward Kennedy and his sister former US Ambassador Jean Kennedy Smith.