AddaProfile: Tawakkol Karman

Our #AddaHumanRights profile for this week is Tawakkol Karman, Yemeni human rights activist and winner of the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize.

Tawakkol Karman was born in the city of Taiz in south-west Yemen in 1979. Coming from a professional Yemeni family, she grew up in during a volatile time in Yemen’s history. The country was reunified north and south in 1990, but suffered violence and political instability after, including a civil war in 1994.

These events formed the backdrop to Karman’s childhood. She went to University in the Yemeni capital Sana’a, before embarking on a career in journalism. She used journalism to promote human rights in the country. In 2005 she co-founded the human rights group Women Journalists Without Chains, in order to promote the freedom of a traditionally state-muzzled press.

Before the Arab Spring in 2011, Karman had for many years organised a protest movement to combat government repression and promote social justice in Yemen. After the Revolution in 2011 she became a leading figure, encouraging and helping women to become involved in peacebuilding in the country.

Karman was awarded the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize at the age of 32, then the youngest person ever to receive the award. It was presented in recognition of her work in promoting women’s rights and safety in Yemen, ranked as the most unequal country for women by the WEF. Karman continues to promote human rights and social justice in Yemen today.

Check out her interview after winning the Nobel Peace Prize here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fvIQi5jhryk

PC: Chatham House