Amnesty International Chair for Dr. Shirin Ebadi

copyright John Murphy - Aurora PA (large view)

copyright John Murphy - Aurora PA

(06-02-2018) Ghent University will award the Amnesty International Chair to the internationally acclaimed lawyer and human rights activist Dr. Shirin Ebadi on 8 March 2018.

Ghent University hands out the Amnesty International Chair for the tenth time to a person who makes a special contribution to human rights worldwide. At this anniversary edition, which is celebrated in the Vooruit, the chair goes to Dr. Shirin Ebadi.




Presentation of the Chair to Shirin Ebadi on 8 March

  • The official presentation of the Amnesty Chair to Shirin Ebadi will take place on 8 March 2018 at 8 pm in Arts Center Vooruit, Sint-Pietersnieuwstraat 23.
  • Shirin Ebadi will give a lecture entitled 'Women's struggle for equality, human rights and democracy'. This lecture will be given in Persian and translated to Dutch.
  • Registration is free and can be done via this link

Who is Shirin Ebadi?

Shirin Ebadi (70), who calls herself an Islamic feminist, was a judge until the 1979 Islamic revolution. At that time the new rulers found that women were too emotional to act as judges. Shirin Ebadi returned to college and expressed herself as a defender of human rights.

She ended up in jail a few times, but that did not stop her from standing up for the rights of women and minorities. For example, she sharply criticized the execution of two underage homosexuals – an act that caused great outrage around the world. Shirin Ebadi also defended the baha'i, a religious minority group that has its origins in Iran and from there spread to the rest of the world.

According to Shirin Ebadi, who is regularly at odds with the Iranian government, the international community must not hesitate to denounce the human rights situation in Iran. "The Iranian government has every right to talk about human rights violations in the Palestinian Territories," she said. "Just as other governments may talk about human rights violations in Iran."

Shirin Ebadi currently lives in exile in London.

Impressive palmares

The number of awards that Shirin Ebadi received over the years is impressive. In 2003 she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her struggle for the rights of women and children in Iran, much to the dismay of the Iranian fundamentalist regime. She was the first Muslim woman to receive this prize. Upon her acceptance, on 10 December 2003, she strongly criticized "states that have violated universal human rights since 11 September under the guise of fighting international terrorism".

Other awards that Shirin Ebadi received are:

  • 1996 - Human Rights Watch Award
  • 2001 - Thorolf Rafto prize
  • 2009 - Human Dignity Award
  • 2010 - Prize for Freedom from the Liberal International

Amnesty International Chair at Ghent University

In recent years, the Amnesty International Chair was awarded to writer Dave Eggers, Sister Jeanne Devos and anti-death criminal lawyer Clive Stafford Smith. Dr. Thomas Hammarberg, Human Rights Commissioner of the Council of Europe, Dr. Luis Moreno-Ocampo, chief prosecutor at the International Criminal Court in The Hague and Nawal El Saadawi, Egyptian women's rights activist, also received the Chair in the past.

Last year, Professor Peter Piot was honored for his important role in realizing the global right to health.