Malalai Joya wins
the International Human Rights Film Award

Defence Committee for Malalai Joya, Feb.12, 2008

Malalai Joya winner of Cinema for Peace Award

Malalai Joya reacts after she was awarded a human rights prize during the "Cinema for Peace 2008" charity gala supporting UNICEF in Berlin February 11, 2008. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch

As part of the 2008 Berlin Film Festival in Germany, the Cinema For Peace organization held a gala on Feb.11, 2008.

Among 4 candidates for “The International Human Rights Film Award 2008” of Cinema for Peace, Malalai Joya was declared winner.

The award committee wrote to Joya: "we believe that your work in Enemies of Happiness makes a very valuable contribution to the cause of peace and understanding."

The award was given to Joya by two times OSCAR winner Hilary Swank.

Some other nominees for the Cinema for Peace award in different categories for 2008 were Angelina Jolie, Michael Moore, Christiane Amanpour, Leonardo DiCaprio etc.

Cinema for Peace is an initiative that aims to promote peace and international understanding through the medium of film.

Introduction by Hilary Swank before giving the award to Joya:

The International Human Rights Film Award will be granted for the second time in order to highlight and support extremely courageous action in the fight for people's justice, freedom, dignity and life. Women's rights are at stake every day in Afghanistan, but there has been an extraordinary woman who is tirelessly working to make a difference. Despite the most brutal threats and several assassination attempts, nothing has stopped her. Afghanistan is a country where the United Nations Development Fund for Human Rights has been strongly supporting women's rights and has helped to establish laws in the constitution. All this would not be possible without courageous leaders taking risks. Malalai is one of those courageous leaders.

I am truly honoured to present this award to a woman who is a personal inspiration to me and to people all over the world. I believe that I speak for everyone gathered here tonight to honour you and your work when I say: we stand by you, behind you, for you, to help carry your voice for justice. Not only in Afghanistan, but the world. You are a shining example of how one person can make a difference in millions of lives and in the future of millions. Bless you, Malalai, may God be with you. The International Human Rights Film Award by Cinema for Peace, Amnesty International and the Human Rights Film Network goes to Malalai Joya and "Enemies of Happiness" by director Eva Mulvad.

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome a genuine heroine on stage – Malalai Joya and Eva Mulvad!

Parts of Joya's after receiving the award:

Thank you. Hello and good evening everyone. I am deeply thankful to Cinema for Peace for giving me the award of human rights and peace, the two values that my unfortunate people have been deprived of for two decades.

Although the authorities in my country tried every possible way to prevent me of being with you here today, I am here and accept this award on behalf of oppressed Afghan women who do not have the opportunity to speak for themselves. But they are brave and fight for their rights. You gave this award to a daughter of a land, which was bombed by the US and its allies for seven years in the name of democracy, peace and human rights. But today we are as far from these values and these vital human needs as we were in 2001.

I dedicate this award to my betrayed people who do not have liberation at all. Today, they are living in a very bad condition of life, and unfortunately their worst enemies that they decide in our country, today, they are in power, and instead of going to put in trial these evil-minded elements, supporting by the so-called international community. Having the opportunity, I want to announce to all human rights defenders that the US-occupied Afghanistan is still a burning hell and brutal joke made to democracy and human rights. Unfortunately today the worst enemies of these values are the current policymakers of my country.

This award will give me determination to fight and to not sit silent for a moment as long as these fundamentalist warlords are in power in my country, and continue my struggle against fundamentalists that are today in power. This award gives me determination to not sit silent as long as Afghan war criminals are not prosecuted and secular democracy is established. I am just one example of my people who sacrifice their lives in order to allow the brightness of liberty to shine on the heart of humanity. Thanks for all the hearts, which go out for freedom and peace in my bleeding Afghanistan.

For this opportunity I want to thank dearest Eva Mulvad who came to Afghanistan for one month in a far province and made this movie, which shows a tiny part of the problem of my people. Thank you very much.

Malalai Joya winner of Cinema for Peace Award

Malalai Joya winner of Cinema for Peace Award
Actress Hilary Swank (L) congratulates Afghan activist Malalai Joya after Joya was awarded a human rights prize during the "Cinema for Peace 2008" charity gala supporting UNICEF in Berlin February 11, 2008. The gala was held during the annual Berlinale film festival, which ends on February 17. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch

Malalai Joya after receiving the award
Malalai Joya reacts after she was awarded.

Joya received a standing ovation from the participants.
Joya received a standing ovation from the participants.

Joya with Catherine Deneuve
Joya with French actress Catherine Deneuve.

Joya with Garry Kasparov
Joya with Garry Kasparov, world chess champion (1985–2000) and Russian opposition leader.

Joya with Waris Dirie
Joya with Waris Dirie, Somalian model and a UN special ambassador.

Joya with musician Bob Geldof
Joya with Bob Geldof, an Irish musician, actor and political activist.

Malalai Joya with a number of supporters in Berlin
Joya with a number of her supporters in Berlin.

Malalai Joya speaks in the gala
Joya delivering speech in the Cinema for Peace gala.

Report by ATN