The management of the Aswan International Women Film Festival decided to grant the Somali Hibaq Osman the Note Award for achievement in the field of women’s issues, and to honor her at the opening ceremony of the festival’s sixth edition that will be held from February 23 to 28.
Ambassador Mervat el-Telawy, chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Aswan Festival, said that Hibaq Osman, the founder of the Karama Movement to End Violence against Women in the Middle East and North Africa, is one of the most important women’s rights defenders in the world.
Through founding the Karama Movement, Osman succeeded in making many achievements on the ground in some conflict areas such as Libya and Syria. She was also chosen as one of the 500 most influential Muslims.
Osman is a member of many councils, including the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations’ Women’s Alliance for Peace. She has previously served as a member of the Civil Society Advisory Body of UN Women and the Direct Donor Action Board. Osman was also appointed as a Senior Fellow at the James MacGregor Burns Leadership Academy, Churchill College, University of Cambridge.
Ambassador Mervat el-Talawy noted that Hibaq Osman led the global campaign for justice for the “Women of Comfort” – Korean women forced into sexual slavery during the Japanese occupation in the 1940s – by working with survivors and relatives.
The campaign organized a congressional briefing at the U.S. Capitol that led to the passage of House Resolution 121. It is a comprehensive statement calling on the Japanese government to publicly acknowledge and apologize for these atrocities, and to commit to educating future generations about the issue.
The campaign concluded with the Los Angeles World Conference on Japanese Military Sexual Slavery.
Vice-Chairman of the Festival’s Board of Trustees Azza Kamel confirmed that Hibaq Osman is a symbol of the struggle for women’s rights as she has an honorable history in this field as well as many significant achievements including the establishment of the Center for Strategic Initiatives for Women that supports women’s voices in conflict resolution processes in Africa.
Moreover, Osman led a project aimed at initiating the reconciliation process in the Horn of Africa, by bringing together 30 organizations and 60 representatives from across the region. The project brought Somali women from warring clans to work together for the first time.