Biography of Sima Samar

Sima Samar

Last updated by AQ – 4/12/2005

Dr. Sima Samar is the Chairperson of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC). Before chairing the Commission, she was elected as the Vice Chair of the Emergency Loya Jirga in 2002. At the Bonn meeting in 2001, Dr. Samar was chosen to be the first Deputy Chair and Minister of Women’s Affairs in the Interim Administration of Afghanistan. Dr. Samar has received various international awards for her work on human rights and democracy. In 2001 she received the John Humphrey Freedom Award. During the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, Dr. Samar was forced to flee after her husband was arrested. He was never heard from again. In Pakistan, Dr. Samar worked to set up medical services for Afghan refugees. In 1987, she helped open the first hospital for women, staffed by women in Quetta, Pakistan. In 1989, she established the Shuhada Organization, a non-governmental and non-profit organization committed to the reconstruction and development of Afghanistan with special emphasis on the empowerment of women and children. Sima Samar was born in February 1957 in Ghazni province. She obtained her degree in medicine in February 1982 from Kabul University; she was the first Hazara woman to achieve this in Afghanistan.

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