The Nobel Peace Prize 2023

The Norwegian Nobel Committee has chosen to award the Nobel Peace Prize for 2023 to Narges Mohammadi, in recognition of her unwavering commitment to fighting for the rights and freedom of women in Iran, as well as her tireless advocacy for human rights. Ms. Mohammadi’s remarkable journey has come at great personal sacrifice, with her enduring numerous arrests, convictions, and a harsh prison sentence. Currently, she remains incarcerated.

In September 2022, the tragic death of Mahsa Jina Amini, a young Kurdish woman in the custody of the Iranian morality police, sparked significant political demonstrations against Iran’s theocratic regime. Under the rallying cry of “Woman – Life – Freedom,” hundreds of thousands of Iranians peacefully protested against the regime’s brutality and the oppression of women. These protests were met with severe government crackdowns, resulting in casualties, injuries, and mass arrests.

The slogan “Woman – Life – Freedom” perfectly encapsulates Narges Mohammadi’s mission:

Woman: She stands up against the systematic discrimination and oppression of women.

Life: Her advocacy supports women’s quest for a dignified and fulfilling life, despite facing persecution, imprisonment, torture, and even death.

Freedom: Narges fights for freedom of expression and independence, and against restrictive regulations imposed on women’s visibility and dress. The call for freedom resonates not only with women but the entire population.

Narges Mohammadi’s journey began in the 1990s as a physics student advocating for gender equality and women’s rights. After completing her studies, she worked as an engineer and wrote columns for reform-minded newspapers. In 2003, she became involved with the Defenders of Human Rights Center in Tehran, founded by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi. In 2011, she was arrested for the first time, receiving a lengthy prison sentence for assisting activists and their families.

Following her release on bail two years later, Ms. Mohammadi dedicated herself to campaigning against the death penalty, a cause of significant concern in Iran. Her activism led to her re-arrest in 2015, and she faced additional imprisonment. Even from within prison, she continued to oppose the regime’s use of torture and sexual violence against political prisoners, particularly women.

During last year’s wave of protests, Narges Mohammadi’s leadership shone again. She supported the demonstrators from behind bars, organized solidarity actions among fellow inmates, and faced even stricter prison conditions in response. Despite the limitations, she managed to convey her message to the world through an article published by the New York Times, asserting, “The more of us they lock up, the stronger we become.” Her efforts have ensured that the protests have not waned.

Narges Mohammadi is not just a woman; she is a dedicated human rights advocate and freedom fighter. The Norwegian Nobel Committee acknowledges her courageous struggle for human rights, freedom, and democracy in Iran. This year’s Peace Prize also acknowledges the hundreds of thousands of individuals who demonstrated against the regime’s discrimination and oppression of women. Embracing equal rights for all is essential for achieving the global fraternity that Alfred Nobel aimed to promote. The Nobel Peace Prize awarded to Narges Mohammadi continues a longstanding tradition of recognizing those who work towards social justice, human rights, and democracy – crucial elements for lasting peace.