Yanar Mohammed

Director, Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq

Region(s): Middle East
Country of focus: Iraq

Yanar Mohammed (@Yanar_Mohammed) is the co-founder and director of the Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq (OWFI), a national women’s organization dedicated to rebuilding Iraq on the basis of secular democracy and human rights for all.

OWFI supports marginalized communities, including women with disabilities, LGBTQ Iraqis, Afro-Iraqis and Turkmen, and Yazidi families displaced by conflict. OWFI programming includes broadcasts about peace, tolerance and respect for human rights to combat societal discrimination towards women and LGBT Iraqis via the radio and OWFI’s newspaper “Al-Mousawaat.”

One of OWFI’s key operations is running secret women’s shelters in Baghdad. To support women who have been forced to flee dangerous living situations, including domestic abuse and honor killings, these safehouses provide accommodation, psychosocial support and counseling, civic and human rights education, as well as life and job skills training.

For her work, Yanar has received several prestigious awards such as the Gruber Prize for Women’s Rights in 2008, as well as Norway’s Rafto Prize in 2016.