epa01197911 Sima Samar, Chairperson of the Experts Group of the special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Sudan, answers journalist's questions during a press conference after her presentation of her final report on Darfur to Human Rights Council, during the 6th UN Human Rights Council at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, 11 December 2007. The governments of Sudan and Myanmar were condemned before the UN Human Rights Council Tuesday for failing to improve human rights in their countries.  EPA/SALVATORE DI NOLFI

Sima Samar
Country/region: Afghanistan
Conflict: Civil war
Organisation: Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission
Field of work: Human rights

Dr. Sima Samar is a well known woman’s and human rights advocate and activist within national and international forums. She served as the first Deputy Chair and Minister of Women’s Affairs in the Interim Administration of Afghanistan. Before chairing the Commission, she was elected as the Vice Chair of the Emergency Loya Jirga.

The Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) is working in the area of protection and promotion of human rights. Established based on the Bone Agreement and Presidential Decree and afterwards, pursuant to Article 58 of the Afghan Constitution, it found a legal base to protect and promote human rights in the country, „Every individual shall complain to this Commission about the violation of personal human rights. The Commission shall refer human rights violations of individuals to legal authorities and assist them in defense of their rights.“

Among the many awards she got are the Right Livelihood Award 2012, Mother Teresa Awards for Social Justice, Honorary Doctorate from Salem State University.

The jury statement for the Right Livelihood Award says: „Sima Samar is a doctor for the poor, an educator of the marginalised and defender of the human rights of all in Afghanistan. She has established and nurtured the Shuhada Organization that, in 2012, operated more than one hundred schools and 15 clinics and hospitals dedicated to providing education and healthcare, particularly focusing on women and girls.

She served in the Interim Administration of Afghanistan and established the first-ever Ministry of Women’s Affairs. Since 2004, she has chaired the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission that holds human rights violators accountable, a commitment that has put her own life at great risk.“