Side event: Right Livelihood Award Laureates and Yazidi Islamic State Survivor to discuss conflict-related sexual violence

Press releases 27.02.2020


Laureates of the Swedish Right Livelihood Award, joined by Yazidi Islamic State survivor and Sakharov Prize Winner Lamiya Aji-Bashar, are set to discuss sexual and gender-based violence in conflict-affected areas at a side event on Wednesday, March 4, during the 43rd session of the Human Rights Council.

Besides Aji-Bashar, the panel will include Right Livelihood Award Laureates Monika Hauser and Sima Samar, a representative of the Dr Mukwege Foundation, and a field expert from Plan International. Bringing a wide range of expertise on the issue of sexual violence in conflict, the participants will focus on the situation of girls in particular. The discussion will centre on the need for a holistic, long-term strategy to assist young female survivors, taking their medical, psychological, legal and economic needs into account.

The event is organised by the Right Livelihood Foundation, whose annual award, also known as the “Alternative Nobel Prize,” is given to courageous individuals and organisations presenting innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing problems.

Title of the side event

Don’t leave them in the shadow: Sexual and Gender-Based Violence in conflict-affected areas – The Situation of Girls


  • Lamiya Aji-Bashar, Yazidi survivor of sexual enslavement by the Islamic State (2016 Sakharov Prize Recipient)
  • Monika Hauser, gynaecologist and humanitarian, founder of Medica Mondiale (2008 Right Livelihood Award Laureate)
  • Sima Samar, Presidential Special Envoy and State Minister for Human Rights and International Affairs in Afghanistan (2012 Right Livelihood Award Laureate)
  • Maud-Salomé Ekila, journalist and communications officer at the Dr Mukwege Foundation (founded by Dr Denis Mukwege, 2018 Nobel Peace Prize and 2013 Right Livelihood Award Laureate)
  • Lidivine Reine Djouwou, Child Protection in Emergency Officer at Plan International, an independent development and humanitarian organisation that advances children’s rights and equality for girls


14h00 on Wednesday, March 4, 2020


Room VII

Palais des Nations

The side event will also be live-streamed.

About the Panellists

Lamiya Aji-Bashar is a survivor of sexual enslavement by the Islamic State and an advocate for the Yazidi community in Iraq. In 2014, she was abducted by Islamic State fighters and forced into sex slavery. She managed to escape from captivity in April 2014. After finding refuge in Germany, she became an advocate for the Yazidi community and women subjected to sexual violence by Islamic State terrorists. In 2016, she was awarded the European Parliament Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought along with fellow Yazidi survivor Nadia Murad.

Monika Hauser is a prominent gynaecologist and humanitarian, and the founder of Medica Mondiale, which helps women and girls in war and post-war crisis zones. Dr Hauser was awarded the Right Livelihood Award in 2008 for her tireless commitment to working with women who have experienced the most horrific sexual violence in some of the most dangerous countries in the world, and for campaigning for them to receive social recognition and compensation.

Sima Samar is an Afghan women’s and human rights advocate and the chairperson of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC). Dr Samar was awarded the Right Livelihood Award in 2012 for her longstanding and courageous dedication to human rights, especially the rights of women, in one of the most complex regions in the world. In 2019, she was appointed Afghanistan’s Special Envoy and State Minister for Human Rights and International Relations. She has recently also been named a member of the UN Secretary-General’s advisory board on mediation.

Maud-Salomé Ekila is a Congolese journalist, documentary-maker and activist, fighting against impunity and the marginalisation of Africans around the world. She has worked as a TV host for daily news programmes of different channels in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). She has been working with Dr Denis Mukwege since 2012, when she produced the documentary “The Hospital of Doctor Mukwege.” Ms. Ekila now works as a communications officer for the Dr Denis Mukwege and Panzi Foundation in the DRC.

Lidivine Reine Djouwou works for Plan International as a Child Protection and Gender-Based Violence Officer in the Prevention and Protection Program for girls and boys affected by the Lake Chad and Boko Haram Crisis. She has extensive experience in working in high-intensity conflict zones for different national and international NGOs helping to improve the lives of children affected by the crisis. She has been playing a key role in promoting the rights of widows and children of Cameroonian soldiers, as well as in the reintegration of girls formerly associated with armed groups and survivors of sexual and gender-based violence, working to tackle early and forced marriages, female genital mutilation, and helping them to get back to education.

Media Contact:

Emoke Bebiak,, +41 78 333 84 84

About the Right Livelihood Foundation

Established in 1980, the Right Livelihood Award honours and supports courageous people solving global problems. To date, there are 178 Laureates from 70 countries. The Swedish Right Livelihood Foundation presenting the Award sees its role as being a megaphone and shield for the Laureates and provides them with long-term support. It also helps protect Award recipients whose lives and liberty are in danger. The Foundation has Special Consultative Status with the UN Economic and Social Council.

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