Berlin (HAN) December 9, 2014 – Public safety and Regional Humanitarian Award news. Somali-Canadian Women’s Rights Activist Receives Germany’s FES Human Rights Award 2014, according to Deutsche Welle in Germany.
According to Geeska Afrika Online reporter in Mogadishu, Fartuun Adan has spent decades campaigning for the rights of traumatized women in war-torn Somalia. Germany’s Friedrich Ebert Foundation is awarding her its Human Rights Prize.
There is a tremble in the woman’s voice as she explains how her life changed three years ago. It was the day her nine year old daughter was raped. Fartuun Adan sits opposite the woman, listening attentively. The woman is close to tears.
Listen to fartuun:
Fartuun Abdi salaan Adan is the executive director of the Elman Peace and Human Rights Center in the Somali capital Mogadishu. It is one of the few places in the failed state where women can talk openly about their suffering. “She took me by the hand and consoled me like a mother. Since then we are like a family,” said the woman. Adan gives her a hug and they both weep. Adan founded a women’s rights group with her husband Elman Ali Ahmed in 1991, the year Somali dictator Siad Barre was toppled. The country was tipped into a brutal civil war, which continues to this day.
Fartuun’s husband was killed at the height of the civil war in 1996 and she fled to Canada with her daughters. But she returned to Somalia to help fight for the rights of aggrieved Somali women in 2007, even though the conflict was still raging. In Muslim-dominated Somali society, sexual violence against woman is a taboo subject; it is not talked about. “For years, Somali men would just deny that it took place at all,” said Adan. “It is important to give the women more control over their lives,” said Adan. “They realize they can go out and earn money themselves and do not need to be dependent on a husband. This new-found self-confidence transforms their lives,” she explained.
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