Amid sanctions imposed by Egyptian authorities, Nazra for Feminist Studies and its director, Mozn Hassan, were awarded the Right Livelihood Award—usually referred to as the “Alternative Nobel Prize”—in a large ceremony held by Right Livelihood Foundation in Cairo on Saturday night.
The foundation stated that it decided to offer Hassan and the NGO support in Egypt after a travel ban prevented her from attending the official award ceremony in Stockholm on 25 November 2016.
The women rights advocate has faced other sanctions, including assets being frozen after being interrogated in the NGO’s foreign funding case launched in 2011 and re-opened in March last year. Several civil society workers have faced similar sanctions and trials.
In her speech, Hassan said that destiny might have come in her favour. Despite not being able to travel, Cairo’s ceremony gathered a larger category of feminists and human rights defenders, in addition to them being able to meet with the entire team of Nazra.
Adding that although she believes the presence of independent civil society in Egypt is under threat, Hassan said she had faith in the new generation to pursue the cause.
Many human rights defenders attended Saturday’s ceremony, in addition to politicians and foreign parliamentary members.
Member of the German parliament Bärbel Höhn, member of the EU parliament Lynn Boylan, and members of the Swedish parliament Lotta Johnsson Fornarve and Cecilia Magnusson condemned sanctions against Nazra and presented their support to Hassan, stating that empowerment of women has become a difficult task all over the world, whether in authoritarian regimes or amid growing populism.