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Dr. Asma Jahangir

Dr. Asma Jahangir is a well-known Pakistani lawyer and human rights activist. For over 30 years, she has campaigned for human rights in Pakistan as a tireless critic of the military regime and religious extremists. She is among the most important voices for women's rights in her society.

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Afghan Women’s Network

The Afghan Women's Network (AWN) is the largest women's network in Afghanistan. With over 110 member organizations and 5,000 women, the Network fights for the rights of women and children in Afghanistan. Human rights champion Afifa Azim and several other exiled activists in Pakistan founded the Network in 1995 following the UN's Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing. The Network's vision is an Afghanistan in which women, children and men enjoy equal rights and women's contributions to society are respected and honored.

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Norma Esther Andrade – Fighting against the brutal murder of young women in Ciudad Juárez

On Valentine's Day in 2000, 17-year-old Lilia Alejandra García Andrade was abducted while on her way home from work in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. She was later found after having been brutally raped, tortured and killed. The murderer was supposedly never found. Sadly, Lilia's fate has been shared by hundreds of girls and young women to date in and around Ciudad Juárez, a major city in the northern Mexican state of Chihuahua.

Pinar Ilkkaracan – Standing up for women’s rights in Turkey and fighting sexual oppression in Muslim countries

As one of Turkey's leading feminists, Pinar Ilkkaracan has been shaping the women's movement for more than 20 years now. Her organization, "Women for Women's Human Rights – New Ways" (WWHR), played a major role in reforming the Turkish penal code in 2004. She lobbies for gender equality and sexual liberty both inside and outside her homeland.

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Renewed strength and resilience – Iranian lawyer and journalist fights for equal rights for women

The Iranian human rights activist Shadi Sadr knows all about jail conditions in her country. The 38-year-old lawyer has herself been detained many times in Evin, a jail for political prisoners. Blindfolded, Sadr was repeatedly forced to answer questions from her male jailers about her involvement in the country's women's movement, and about her travel, campaigns and contacts, particularly those abroad. She was released on bail, but her organization, RAAHI, which campaigns for women's rights, was outlawed.

Dr. Sima Samar – Afghanistan’s voice for human rights

She was a refugee, a Hazara woman and therefore part of the most persecuted minority in Afghanistan. Her husband went missing and never returned. In a country ravaged by more than three decades of war, Taliban rule and violation of women's rights, Sima Samar became a doctor, Afghanistan's first Minister of Women's Affairs and one of the country's most prominent human rights advocates.

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Dr. Denis Mukwege Mukengre

58-year-old Dr. Denis Mukwege is a gynecological surgeon in Bukavu, a city in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). He treats women who have been gang-raped or suffered other forms of sexual violence.

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Lenin Raghuvanshi

It has been 65 years since India — the largest democracy in the world — attained independence. Yet, justice for all is still a far cry in the country where the caste system continues to determine political, social, and economic lives of a billion people. Money and muscle power, together with political string-pulling, often result in denial of justice for the hapless ‘have-nots’, especially the Dalits (untouchables), ravaged by poverty and illiteracy.

Mazen Darwish still under arrest

38-year-old Syrian journalist and founder of the Syrian Centre for Media and Freedom of Expression is still being held by the Syrian authorities. Calls from international human rights organizations for his immediate release go unheeded. Darwish and his 13 employees were taken into custody on February 16 by Syrian security forces.

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