Friday 24 March 2017

Andrea honours Afghan heroine on frontline

Colin Gleeson

POP star Andrea Corr has told how she was horrified to see oppression towards women first-hand as her band toured the world.

The Corrs beauty said that she had seen cultures where women were treated as second-class citizens, but that her life "personifies the opposite".

She was speaking at a function in Dublin's City Hall, where about 200 people turned out to see her present a human rights activist with the 2010 Front Line Award.

The honour is bestowed by the human rights group for an "outstanding contribution to the protection of human rights in the face of considerable personal risk".

Dr Soraya Rahim Sobhrang, the Afghanistan Commissioner for Women's Rights at the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission, received the award.



Oppressed

Dr Sobhrang is responsible for monitoring, protection and promotion of women's rights throughout Afghanistan. She lives under threat from the Taliban and conservative elements in Afghan society.

Speaking after the ceremony, Corr said: "We have played all over the world and we've played in countries where women are oppressed.

"So we have seen this -- and in many ways my life personifies the opposite.

"My work is about freedom. I as a woman find it unimaginable to suffer such oppression and I am totally in awe of what Dr Sobhrang does and I just thank God for people like her."

Corr also described how growing up just south of the Border in Dundalk, Co Louth, had made her "very conscious" of the effect that conflict can have on people.

"The Troubles in the North . . . could be felt all over the country -- but peace has come," she said.

"It is possible to force the pace of change and that is why people like Dr Sobhrang are so important.

"Afghanistan has been torn apart by war and it takes exceptional courage to stand against all that oppression.

"She is a living example of how one person can give hope, effect change, and make a difference."

Dr Sobhrang flew in this week to collect her award.

"This is a tribute not just to me but to all the women of Afghanistan," she said.

Irish Independent

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