Juwairiya Mohideen wins 2020 FLD Award
Juwairiya Mohideen from Puttalam won the 2020 Asia-Pacific Award, as the female frontline rights defender, presented by the Dublin-based Front Line Defenders (FLD).
Meanwhile, FLD described Mohideen as a Muslim female human rights defender based in Puttalam. She and her family are part of the Northern Muslim community that were forcibly displaced by the LTTE in October 1990 and 30 years later, she continues to live in a refugee settlement in Puttalam. Mohideen started her work with the Rural Development Foundation providing support for the community of internally displaced persons. Over a 15-year period, she identified a critical gap in dedicated support for women and girls within the local human rights/humanitarian aid sector. In 2010, she established the Muslim Women’s Development Trust (MWDT) on which she serves as the Executive Director.
The MWDT provides daily practical support, comfort, advice and legal assistance to women and girls facing abuse, violence and discrimination. Mohideen is at the frontline of calls for reform in Muslim Personal Laws, which deny Muslim women and girls the basic rights enjoyed by their non-Muslim sisters. Mohideen has been undeterred by threats against her and her family, blatant misinformation and attacks on her character and being labelled as a traitor and shunned by parts of her close-knit community.
“Mohideen works to advance women’s rights against conservative religious forces, to improve the lives and well-being of marginalised groups and to seek justice and accountability for victims, and does so both under harassment and threats and always with a welcoming smile. From her own pain and trauma of displacement in her youth, she has built an incredible reputation as a determined champion of justice. She is a role model for all of Sri Lanka,” the FLD, quoting its Executive Director, Andrew Anderson, stated.