Award Winners 2012/13

Indian NGO Jagori, represented by its directors Suneetha Dhar and Kalpana Viswanath, received the Award in recognition of its longstanding and successful commitment to women's rights in India.

Human rights activist and lawyer, Dr. Asma Jahangir of Pakistan, was being honored for her committed fight on behalf of women's rights in Pakistan.

The Afghan Women's Network was recognized for its efforts on behalf of the women of Afghanistan.

Represented by its founding and current director, Professor W. Michael Blumenthal, the Jewish Museum Berlin received the Roland Berger Honorary Human Dignity Award 2012/13.

Winners of the Roland Berger Human Dignity Award 2012/13

Jagori  

"Wake up, women!" is how the name of the Indian organization Jagori translates. It has shaped the women's rights movement in India for nearly 30 years. Based in India's capital New Delhi, the organization's 19 female staff at head office use sophisticated PR techniques to give women in India a voice and make lasting improvements to women's position in Indian society. The action they take includes campaigns, publications, the protection of women's rights and gender equality, training courses, workshops and advice for women and girls who are victims of sexual harassment and violence. Jagori aims to reach out to women throughout the country and mobilize them to stand up for their rights.  

One of Jagori's current initiatives is the Safe Delhi Campaign to improve the safety of women in the Indian capital. Many women in the city are afraid to walk the streets, especially after dark and on less busy roads. Together with the municipal government and in cooperation with UNIFEM and UN Habitat, Jagori has therefore surveyed women and girls to ask where they experience harassment and discuss what to do about it. According to the survey, the problems lie mainly in the poor infrastructure, lack of street lighting and public toilets, as well as drug and alcohol abuse in public parks. Jagori is working on solutions for better urban planning and design of public spaces. The aim for the future is for women in New Delhi to feel safe while traveling around the city.  

After the recent horrifying rape cases in New Delhi, which triggered a widespread public debate on women's rights in India and beyond, Jagori's programs and the experience of its staff are in more demand than ever. Jagori recently trained 3,800 bus drivers in the capital to make them more aware of violence against women so they can help in an emergency. Telephone hotlines have also been set up.  

Kalpana Viswanath and Suneeta Dhar run the organization. Both women have been tireless campaigners for women's rights over many years. They have managed to address broad swathes of the public with vivid publications and well-designed courses.

Dr. Asma Jahangir  

Dr. Asma Jahangir is a well-known Pakistani lawyer and human rights activist. For over 30 years, she has campaigned for human rights in Pakistan as an indefatigable critic of the military regime and religious extremists. She is among the most important voices for women's rights in her society.  

Dr. Jahangir grew up in a politically active family. Her father Malik Jilani was a politician and opponent of the military dictatorship. He spent many years in prison and under house arrest. This led her to decide at a young age to stand up for the oppressed: women, children and religious minorities. Since the age of 18, she has campaigned for a secular society and especially the rights of women in Pakistan. After studying law, she set up Pakistan's first women-run legal practice with her sister Hina Jilani in 1980. AGHS Legal Aid Cell was the first free legal aid bureau that also operated a women's refuge. As an attorney, Asma Jahangir defended members of religious minorities charged with blasphemy. Over the years she also represented many victims of rape, domestic violence and forced labor. Her success in court led more and more women to insist on their rights, thereby changing the position of women in Pakistan.  

In 1980, Dr. Jahangir set up the Women's Action Forum (WAF) with other human rights activists and in 1986 she founded the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), taking over as its chair in 2005. In the past 15 years, Dr. Jahangir has held various international positions, such as UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Arbitrary and Summary Executions and UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief. In 2006, she worked with the government on the Protection of Women Act, and in 2010 was elected President of the Supreme Court Bar Association.  

Dr. Jahangir has received numerous international accolades for her courageous, continuous and longstanding battle against the oppression of women, children and victims of religious extremism.

Afghan Women's Network  

The Afghan Women's Network (AWN) is the largest women's network in Afghanistan. With over 103 member organizations and 5,000 women, the Network fights for the rights of women and children in Afghanistan. Human rights champion Afifa Azim and several other exiled activists in Pakistan founded the Network in 1995 following the UN's Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing. The Network's vision is an Afghanistan in which women, children and men enjoy equal rights and women's contributions to society are respected and honored.  

In the 1990s, the women's movement in Afghanistan consisted of various women's rights organizations and individual activists. The Afghan Women's Network helped combine these disparate parts into a stronger, more cohesive whole, better able to campaign for the rights of women and children. Today, the Afghan Women's Network is an established and influential network with close ties to international organizations and its own legal department. Due to its strong position, the Network can actively lobby for its cause, put pressure on lawmakers and raise awareness of women's rights issues among the populace. The main goal is to see that women participate in the country's development and government institutions.  

With the fall of the Taliban regime, the situation for women in Afghanistan improved somewhat. Many positive developments have been seen over the past 10 years, especially regarding education, the right to work and access to the job market. Women now often feel a bit freer outside the home, and a ministry for women's rights has even been set up. But despite this progress, violence and discrimination against women still predominate in Afghanistan.  

For the 11th anniversary of UN Resolution 1325, which guaranteed women the right to play an equal role in peace processes, a major Afghanistan conference was organized in Bonn in December 2011. The Afghan Women's Network sent ten representatives to the conference. In the run-up to the event, the Network also launched its "Green Scarves for Solidarity" campaign, probably its most effective and well-publicized one to date. The green scarf is a symbol of the Afghan Women's Network, representing unity and strength.