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Iranian woman wins rights award for hijab campaign
An Iranian journalist has received a human rights award in Geneva for creating a Facebook page inviting women in Iran to post pictures of themselves without their headscarves in defiance of rules requiring them to wear a hijab.
Masih Alinejad, 38, launched Stealthy Freedoms of Iranian Women
last year, attracting more than half a million likes on Facebook in a matter of weeks. Thousands of women took off their veils in public and sent in their photos to be published.
The Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy, a group of 20 non-governmental organisations, gave Alinejad its women’s rights award for “giving a voice to the voiceless and stirring the conscience of humanity to support the struggle of Iranian women for basic human rights, freedom and equality.”
Alinejad said she was delighted to win the award and hoped it would raise awareness about Iranian women demanding basic rights.
“From seven-year-old schoolgirls to 70-year-old grandmothers, women in Iran are all forced to wear the hijab,” she said in a statement published on the summit’s website. “Hopefully this award will create an opportunity for the voices of Iranian women who say no to the forced hijab to echo throughout the halls of the United Nations.”
Alinejad, who lives in exile, told the Guardian last year that she was not opposed to the hijab and that her mother was veiled, but she had created the page because she wanted people to have the freedom to choose.