Kurdish woman among Vital Voices Leadership honorees

A Kurdish woman was among four female honorees of the 15th annual of Vital Voices Global Leadership Awards.

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) – A Kurdish woman was among the four female honorees of the 15th Vital Voices Global Leadership who were awarded on Wednesday. 

On the heels of March 8, International Women’s Day, Khanim Rahim Latif, the director of Asuda, a non-governmental organization (NGO), received the Human Rights Award in Washington.

“A fearless leader defending women’s equality and offering a refuge to survivors of gender-based violence in Iraqi Kurdistan,” said the jury about Latif’s efforts.

Hafsat Abiola-Costello from Nigeria, Akanksha Hazari from India, and Yoani Sanchez from Cuba were the other three women who respectively received the 2015 awards for Leadership in Public Life, Economic Empowerment, and Light of Freedom. 

In their website, the Vital Voices Global Partnership states that its mission is "to identify, invest in, and bring visibility to extraordinary women around the world by unleashing their leadership potential to transform lives and accelerate peace and prosperity in their communities."

The 2016 awards honors "women who are responding to humanitarian crises; combating extremism, exposing corruption and tackling the root causes of insecurity, such as inequality, inadequate legal frameworks, and gender-based violence." 

Asuda claims that it "works for a better life for women in Kurdistan" and was founded in 2001 in the city of Sulaimani, as the first women’s shelter in Kurdistan Region.

The organization provides protection, awareness, research and advocacy for women from different ethnic and religious backgrounds in the Kurdistan Region and Iraq as well as neighboring countries.

According to Asuda’s website, they have come under several direct and indirect threats and attacks from people who do not believe in gender equality. 

The most serious one was a gunfire attack in May 11, 2008, when an unknown armed man opened fire on Asuda building and seriously injured a woman inside it.

Asuda is funded by local, national, and international donors and organizations, including the United Nations (UN), European Union (EU) and United States (US) governmental institutions.


Reporting by Gulala Khaled
Editing by Ava Homa and Delovan Barwari