Mozn Hassan—a leading Egyptian feminist, human rights defender and founder of Nazra for Feminist Studies—was held in the nation this week as part of a travel ban.
The challenges facing Egyptian citizens looking to travel aren’t new. As Deputy Middle East and North Africa Director Nadim Houry said, Egypt is “turning the country’s own borders into de facto prison walls.” Egyptian law now prevents progressive NGO and nonprofit leaders from leaving the country, which is creating chaos in the country.
Nazra, the group Hassan founded, pushes for feminist values in the Middle East and North Africa. Aside from mainstreaming progressive values, Nazra’s priority is fighting sexual violence against women in the region.
For her work as an activist and with Nazra, she was recently bestowed a Laureate of the 2016 Right Livelihood Award—regarded as the ‘”Alternative Nobel Prize”—but wasn’t allowed to leave the country to accept it in person. She had to view the ceremony through a video link because of the travel ban. This isn’t the first time Hassan has been restricted from leaving Egypt—she was summoned to court this summer during the UN Commission on the Status of Women.
Hassan was selected for the award for “asserting the equality and rights of women in circumstances where they are subject to ongoing violence, abuse and discrimination.”
“I feel that receiving the Right Livelihood Award is not only a recognition of my work or Nazra’s work,” Hassan said. “It is for every woman who has fought for her basic rights, who has combatted and survived sexual violence, for all the women who fight daily to exist. We continue to believe in a better future for women in Egypt, in the region, and all around the world.”