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Liah Ghazanfar Jawad

Executive Director
Feminine Solidarity for Justice Organization
Liah Ghazanfar Jawad Receives Award for Human Rights Defenders at Risk

The annual Front Line Defenders Award for Human Rights Defenders at Risk was established in 2005 to honour the work of HRDs who are courageously making outstanding contributions to the promotion and protection of the human rights of others, often at great personal risk to themselves.

Liah Ghazanfar Jawad is an Afghan woman human rights defender based in Kabul, Afghanistan. Over the past three decades, she has been the Executive Director of Feminine Solidarity for Justice Organization and has advocated for women's rights, raised awareness against sexual harassment in the workplace, forced marriage and child marriage, and provided psychological and medical treatment for victims of torture. She has done pivotal work towards raising the voices of women across Afghanistan for education, peace, and stability in the country.

She was also a member of several human rights committees whose work resulted in the enactment of the Children’s Law and laws prohibiting torture, violence against women, and sexual harassment. She worked on projects for access to justice in the prisons for victims of torture, documentation of torture in national prisons, and providing psychotherapy and medical treatment to victims of torture in prisons. She received the Malalai Medal in 2015 from the government of Afghanistan as recognition of her human rights work. She has also participated in many international conferences on human rights, good governance, establishing governance mechanisms in Afghanistan, peace Jirgas, and women empowerment.

In response to her work, she faced many threats against herself and her family. Despite being forced to relocate previously due to threats, she is determined to continue her human rights work after the Taliban takeover in August 2021. Liah is currently in Afghanistan and continues to support women victims of violence and persecution and advocate for their rights and protection. She has provided vital support including services, psychotherapy, and medical treatment for more than 80 displaced and threatened WHRDs, and HRDs, a majority of whom are women.


The continuing lack of security and instability in the country impact negatively on the ability of woman human rights defenders (WHRDs) and human rights defenders (HRDs) to carry out their work. They are subjected to threats, intimidation, harassment, surveillance, arbitrary detention, enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings. Perpetrators include both state and non-state actors – who act with impunity, knowing that the State lacks the ability and commitment to ensure the safety of defenders and ensure accountability for crimes. Human rights defenders working in remote regions, are at particular risk and vulnerable to attack. Women human rights defenders and those working on the rights of women and girls, are systematically threatened, and attacked – for the work they do, and what they represent. WHRDs are seen as a direct challenge to the status quo. They lack effective protection from the State including police, and face obstacles and threats from within their own communities, state agencies, and extremist groups.