KABUL – In a bold defiance of oppression, an Afghan refugee woman, Nargis Momand Hassanzai, has been honored with the 2023 World Peace Prize in Sweden. Despite the constraints imposed by the oppressive Taliban regime, Hassanzai’s unyielding dedication and her commitment to human rights has earned her global recognition.
Expressing her heartfelt appreciation for the award, Hassanzai extended her gratitude to those who have supported her in her journey toward fostering peace. “I am deeply thankful for the World Peace Award 2023. Accepting this prestigious recognition with humility, I sincerely appreciate the support and contributions that have propelled me on this path of promoting peace,” she conveyed on X.
Hassanzai’s journey has been marked by her unwavering battle against oppression, gender inequality, freedom of speech constraints, and injustices faced by women. This award not only acknowledges her devoted efforts but also represents a significant milestone for Afghan women who have persistently strived to overcome challenges in education and society over the past two years.
Having formerly served as a lecturer at Kabul University and a staunch human rights advocate, Hassanzai’s dedication to her homeland is acknowledged by this award. Her resilience reflects the ongoing struggle of Afghan women against injustices and policies that suppress their rights. Moreover, her determination signifies a resolute endeavor to reshape the nation by advocating for justice and equality.
Hassanzai’s impact reaches beyond accolades; she has played an instrumental role in securing scholarships and contributing to Afghan women’s football, a feat acknowledged by FIFA. Her efforts have led to the official recognition of Afghan women’s football and their participation in European competitions.
In 2023, the Nobel Prize from Sweden celebrated Afghanistan’s unwavering resilience, showcasing the extraordinary spirit of the Afghan people to the global community. It’s important to note that since the resurgence of the Taliban in August 2021, Afghanistan’s educational system has suffered a severe setback. Girls’ access to education has been curtailed, leading to the emergence of religious schools as alternatives to traditional education institutions.
The challenges facing Afghan women have multiplied since the Taliban’s return to power in 2021. They are denied access to education, employment, and public spaces. Draconian restrictions on freedom of expression, association, assembly, and movement have been imposed on them. Despite international appeals, the Taliban leadership remains indifferent to granting women and girls access to education and employment. They have also warned against external interference in Afghanistan’s domestic affairs.
The Taliban’s restrictions extend to barring girls from secondary education, limiting women’s mobility, excluding them from the workforce, and prohibiting them from using public amenities such as parks, gyms, and bathhouses. Despite these challenges, individuals like Hassanzai embody the resilience and determination of Afghan women to rise above adversity and contribute to a brighter future.