WASHINGTON, D.C. – The McCain Institute at Arizona State University applauds Jamila Afghani, a McCain Institute Human Rights Defender and women’s rights activist from Afghanistan, for receiving the global Aurora Prize for Awakening Humanity in recognition of her decades-long work on behalf of Afghan women.
The McCain Institute’s Human Rights Defenders program assisted Jamila Afghani’s temporary relocation to Europe in 2017 following an attempt on her life and escalating tension surrounding her advocacy work in Afghanistan. She was provided additional support in 2021 when she and her family had to flee Kabul after the Taliban seized control of the country.
“We are proud to support Jamila and are thrilled to see her receive the prestigious Aurora Prize in recognition of her important humanitarian work,” said McCain Institute Executive Director Evelyn Farkas. “The McCain Institute will continue to support Jamila’s efforts and remain dedicated to recognizing and helping persecuted human rights defenders across the globe.”
The Aurora Prize comes with a $1 million award, granted annually on behalf of the survivors of the Armenian Genocide. Afghani will use the prize to support the Women International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) and Noor Educational and Capacity Development and Capacity Development Organization (NECDO). WILPF is a membership-led international organization that seeks to promote world peace by advocating for disarmament, abolition of violence, women’s human rights, and gender equality. NECDO is a non-governmental organization that provides humanitarian and development assistance to women, youth, and children in Afghanistan.
“This award is dedicated to the women and girls of Afghanistan. Even from afar, I promise to serve you and uphold your rights in a world that chooses to deny your existence. I promise to continue my struggle for the vulnerable members of Afghanistan,” said Afghani. “This is for the millions of girls and women of Afghanistan who are denied their basic fundamental rights.
The McCain Institute is deeply committed to upholding freedom, democracy and universal human rights. Reflecting this commitment, the McCain Institute’s Human Rights Defenders program provides transitional assistance to human rights defenders who have been forced to flee their homes or to work underground due to harassment, intimidation or violent threats. Most recently, the program has supported the Ukrainian-based human rights organization Truth Hounds, a Burmese activist, an award-winning photographer from Kashmir, an Iranian cartoonist, a Rwandan journalist, a Tanzanian journalist, a Malaysian blogger, and activists from Uganda, Jordan and Burundi.