Photo credit: Susannah Ireland / Raw in War

On 12 March, RAW in WAR (Reach all Women in WAR) with the support of the EU-Russia Civil Society Forum presented the Anna Politkovskaya Award 2021 to Afghan human rights activist Fawzia Koofi at a ceremony as part of the Women of the World Festival 2022 (#WOWLDN) at London’s Southbank Centre. Baronness Helena Kennedy QC, who has saved more than 100 women judges from Afghanistan by urging the UK and other governments to offer these women a safe haven, presented the award to Fawzia Koofi. Helena Kennedy, Fawzia Koofi as well as Jude Kelly, the founder of WOW and Mariana Katzarova, founder RAW in WAR, all highlighted in their speeches not just the situation of women human rights defenders in and from Afghanistan but also the urgent need of support for human rights defenders in Ukraine and in Russia. The more than 1000 participants at the event stood for a moment of solidarity with the people of Ukraine, with those who stand up against the war.

Fawzia Koofi was an outspoken member of the Parliament of Afghanistan, the first woman Deputy Speaker of the Parliament and Chair of the Human rights, Civil Society and Women’s Rights Commission. She participated in the peace negotiations between the Taliban and the Afghan government. She survived several assassination attempts and continues to lobby for the protection of the rights and the life of Afghan women and men.