The 53 year old Dr. Samar, OC. (Ordre du Canada) a native of Ghazani, Afghanistan, is the Chairperson of the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) and since 2005 also United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Sudan.
Dr. Samar obtained her degree in medicine in February 1982 from Kabul University, the first Hazara woman to ever do so.
She was forced to flee from her native Jaghoori, where she provided medical treatment to patients throughout the remote areas of central Afghanistan.
In 1984, the Russian Communist regime arrested Dr. Samar’s husband, physics professor Abdul Chafoor Sultani and Dr. Samar together with her young son was forced to flee to the safety of nearby Pakistan where she worked as a doctor at the refugee branch of the Mission Hospital.
Dr. Samar’s ongoing efforts at educating and uplifting the poor and ignorant, especially females, is not looked upon with favor by the Taliban regime and she has been publicly threatened with death on numerous occasions, for failing to close down her hospitals and schools for women and girls.
Dr. Samar publicly refuses to accept that women must be kept secluded from the public and speaks out against the wearing of the burqa (head-to-foot wrap), which was enforced on women first by the fundamentalist Mujahideen and later by the Taliban. Among the Taliban’s many other misogynistic edicts is barring girls over the age of eight from attending school.
Dr. Sima Samar is the recipient of numerous International Awards for her work on human rights including:
Ramon Magsaysay Award for Community Leadership in 1994.
Global Leader for Tomorrow from the World Economic Forum in Switzerland in1995.
The Voices of Courage Award, Women’s Commission for Refugee Women and Children, New York, in 2001.
John F. KennedyProfile in Courage Award in 2004.
Ypres Peace Prize Belgium, in 2008.
Honorary Officer of the Order of Canada, in 2009.