Leading Women Building Community 2012, Award Ceremony
Human Rights Activist
and executive board member of, “Neda For a free Iran, a human rights advocacy NGO”
Jack Purcell Community Centre, Ottawa
March 24th, 2012
Thank you so much for this award and for your kind words of introduction. I am truly honoured and humbled by your support. I accept this award with a deep sense of gratitude and most importantly with humility, as I am just one individual fighting for what I believe in, education, human rights, justice and empowering the voiceless.
My heartfelt gratitude to MPPs Yasir Naqvi and Dr. Reza Moridi for nominating me for this award. My special gratitude to Hon Laurel Broten and to my MP Royal Galipeau.
Many thanks for the wonderful recommendation letters, and to my dear friends, especially to Wendy Nobel and Nazanin Afshin-Jam, my family and my husband for supporting me and empowering me.
Today is The International Day for The Right to the Truth of Victims of Gross Human Rights Violations. This award also enables me to bring to your attention the systematic human rights abuses in Iran, particularly the crackdown on civil society activists in the aftermath of the 2009 presidential elections.
This Award is given every year to women and girls in Ontario who have illustrated exceptional leadership and courage in building communities and in defense of women’s and girls’ rights, social justice and human rights. For this reason I would like to dedicate my award to Nasrin Sotoudeh, an Iranian Human Rights lawyer who is currently imprisoned in Iran, since her courage has been exceptional and is deserving of recognition.
As Albert Einstein said: “The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything”
Thank you again for this award which I accept with both honour and gratitude.
Please Join the International Campaign in Support of Nasrin Sotoudeh in calling for the release of lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh, who is in prison for simply defending her clients and insisting that Iranian authorities respect human rights.