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Compassion In Kenya


Compassion CBO

Compassion CBO, was formed to eradicate poverty through education and sustainable development among women living in the slums and rural areas of Kenya and to rehabilitate orphans and vulnerable children.

Survivors In DR Congo



COFAPRI is registered in Bukavu in the eastern Democratic Rupublic of Congo The organisation empowers women through encouraging income-generating activities such as the rearing of livestock.

Grassroots News

Safe World Field Partner, work directly with issues such as poverty, health-care, marginalisation, FGM, child marriage, and education.

Asha Leresh

How Asha Survived the Unnecessary Cut

Asha’s luck came when Samuel Siriria Leadismo, the Director of Pastoralist Child Foundation and his team visited her village, creating awareness about female genital mutilation (FGM) and sexual reproductive health....

Washing Hands to Improve Health in Rural DR Congo

COFAPRI organised handwashing sessions for school children and mothers in rural villages, with the aid of educational DVDs kindly supplied by Thare Machi Education. The word has begun to spread as neighbours are now prompting each other to wash their hands.
Safe Spaces

Safe Spaces Crucial for Women's Self-Reliance in Rural DR Congo

Increased security helps women become self-reliant and less financially dependent on their husbands. This improves the situation for the whole family and also means the women are less vulnerable to abuse.
Towards womens empowerment

DR Congo: Men's Inclusion in Women's Empowerment Benefits Everyone

It remains very important within communities for men and boys to be educated regarding the rights of women and girls, including their proper, fair and respectful treatment. When the women and girls become empowered, it is the whole community that benefits.
Margaret from Kiambu Support Group

Nairobi cancer survivor has hope at last

Margaret is among many women Compassion CBO trained in 2015. She has survived breast Cancer 2 times.

New Womens Magazine for Cameroon

The first edition of the Women for a Change Magazine is now available.

News, Interviews and Blogs

Under-reported issues affecting women and children. Exclusive interviews, articles and blogs by Safe World Correspondents and Content Partners

Compensation Claims Board 2

The Need for Victim Compensation Programmes - Pakistan and Globally

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Lizzy and Victoria

Peace, Dialogue & the Ripple Effect: #RISING16 Global Peace Forum

Perhaps the most inspiring session for me came towards the end of the two days and was entitled ‘Bring back our girls – the forgotten victims of conflict’... We heard the CEO of International Alert, Harriet Lamb, and Victoria Nyanjura - who was kidnapped by…
Olutosin 2

Olutosin Adebowale: To America With Love

Once upon a time in my country, Nigeria, there was a ruler who was dreaded by many... We resisted and said No to every oppressive action or word to any weak or voiceless Nigerian... This is the time to stand firm on what has held the world together - Love.
Berlyne Ngwalem Ngwentah

Berlyne Ngwentah: 'The Biggest Cheerleaders of Women are Women'

All the most prominent, biggest community and feminist movements to alleviate the sufferings of women and girls and support women’s involvement in education and leadership have been championed mostly by women...
Jen 9

Promoting Misogyny, Zenophobia, and Bullying... is.... Nasty

I cannot ever vote for anyone who promotes misogyny, racism, Islamophobia, zenophobia, homophobia... It would be a mockery of my life... dishonoring my elders who have endured the many injustices of racial animosity, my friends who've experienced the same...
Women united

Women United for a Better Community in High Andean of Peru

“Women United for a Better Community” is a new group of grassroots women in the Ayacucho Region at the South High Andean of Peru, recently created by Estrategia, a National Grassroots women's organization. The grassroots women require to be heard and get the…


Dec 2010


"In my memory, she is an angel. She has a very beautiful mind”

With thanks to Mehran Divanbaigyzand for translating

Mehrangiz Kar - inspiration for the young Nasrin

Mehrangiz, thank you so much for talking to us. You have been friends with Nasrin for many years. How did you meet?


Mehrangiz explained that she and Shirin Ebadi were really the only two female lawyers who were actively demanding Human Rights in Iran, before the Khatami period.

Mehrangiz Kar and Shirin Ebadi were writing articles in newspapers.

"Nasrin is not the only innocent lawyer to be arrested in Iran by secret agents or the military."

Only after the 'reform', did the men and others join in.

When Nasrin Sotoudeh was in her early thirties, she came to see Mehrangiz in her office because she was interested in getting involved herself.

"She planned to be an activist and was looking for an opportunity to be active in human rights and women's rights."

That was over fifteen years ago.

Talking Human Rights

What do you remember of your time with Nasrin in Iran and her passion for Human Rights?


Mehrangiz lived near to Nasrin and she would get wake-up calls from Nasrin several times a week, to talk about human rights issues.

"I could understand Nasrin's passion to be a lawyer and she was working hard

"Nasrin is a very, very honest woman and I cannot believe.. that she could do anything against anybody else.

towards it - I was struck by her exceptional passion for human rights.

To become a lawyer in Iran, you have to work with a lawyer who has 10 years experience.

After 2 years of that they can approve you and you take the bar exam and you can be an independent lawyer."

In 1995, she took and passed the bar exam successfully. The previous year, Nasrin married Reza Khandan, who supported her efforts and continues to stand by her, through their ongoing traumas.

Family Life

What do you remember of Nasrin's family?


"Once I asked Nasrin why she wasn't starting a family. She said, 'Ms Kar, I am afraid if I get pregnant I cannot work for other people and all my time will be preoccupied by my children'.

She became pregnant several months later and I told her now she can understand Human Rights better because she knows what it's like to have a human being growing inside of you - that being needs to have perfect rights - that child will be under discrimination and a bad legal system."

Nasrin and Reza's daughter, Mehrawareh, was born in 1999.

(Mohammad Khatami was elected as the President of Iran in 1997, promising reformation and the implementation of a democratic and more tolerant society. However, he faced fierce opposition and, after 8 years of presidency, he was widely considered to have lost the power struggle with his opponents.)

Targeting Human Rights Lawyers

Can you describe the situation for lawyers in Iran at that time?


"After the "reform" everybody who was working for democracy, human rights and women’s rights did so according to the law - the journalists and activists had no political organization.

"Solitary confinement comes under the concept of unfair treatment. Even Khamenei has said that it is the worst kind of torture".

When they were arrested, some Iranian lawyers went to help them - and those lawyers were targeted.

It took the judiciary a while to begin the crackdown on Human Rights lawyers - and the lawyers who were defending those lawyers who were targeted.

The ones working for reformist newspapers, criticizing the judiciary, Mortazavi and secret agencies were targeted.

They were helping to promote human rights dialogue in Iran - everything was legal, but they were targeted anyway."

(Saeed Mortazavi is the former Tehran Prosecutor-General and one of 8 individuals recently listed by the U.S. Department of State who 'share responsibility for the sustained and severe violation of human rights in Iran since the June 2009').

Mehrangiz said that, in 2000, she herself was arrested for analyzing the Iranian legal system, after participating in a conference in Berlin, though she was not working illegally.

After Mehrangiz was arrested, she was pressured to not talk to Nasrin.

Censorship was getting worse and Nasrin could not publish interviews she did with Mehrangiz, in the Khatami period.

In 2003, age 39, Nasrin got her lawyers credentials in 2003, permitting her to practice law.

In 2007, Nasrin and Rezas' son, Nima, was born.

Nasrin's courage

There has been increasing persecution of lawyers after the reform movement. What do you think might have been the tipping point to arrest Nasrin?


"Nasrin is not the only innocent lawyer to be arrested in Iran by secret agents or the military".

This is not a new thing - 10 or 15 lawyers have been arrested since the 'reform'. (Khatami's presidency).

"Nasrin is a very, very honest woman and I cannot believe, not just as a lawyer but as a human being, that she could do anything against anybody else.

"Under the concept of a fair trial, the key thing is to have access to lawyers and this is not being practiced."

In my memory, she is an angel. She has a very beautiful mind.

She cannot violate Human Rights or the legal system in Iran, because all lawyers who are helping their clients have to respect the legal system if they want to be effective.

Nasrin was working according to the legal system and she knew that the system is full of discrimination and violations against Human Rights and democracy.

Even though she knew about the systematic violations, she was working to help her clients. She understood that the system is full of dangers but she was sensitive about Human Rights.

As Nasrin increased her work defending people who simply advocated for Human Rights, she would not stop.

Some Human Rights lawyers have been forced to flee because of the persecution and are under pressure. She would not stop and resisted heroically.

She knew that she would be targeted. But she always followed the law, made sure that her speeches were free of slogans and concentrated on what is lawful. She stayed within the boundaries of law."

Solitary Confinement

You were subjected to solitary confinement several years ago, and Nasrin has now spent over 110 days in solitary confinement. What do you think the psychological affects are and do they constitute torture?


"Solitary confinement comes under the concept of unfair treatment.

Even Khamenei has said that it is the worst kind of torture. How can the leader say this but the judiciary practice it?

Internationally, torture violates a fair trial"

Campaigning for Nasrin

What is important in securing Nasrin's release?


"One of the ways we can do this is to focus on the violations of international law that are evident in her situation.

This [her detention] is illegal. They don't care about the legal system. She is doing her job. That's it.

"When there is not a jury during the trial, that trial is not legal even under the Islamic Republic's structure."

There are 2 points to help, two points to protect and support her:

1) The rights of lawyers in the modern legal system all over the world. Focus on the security and safety of the lawyers internationally.

Safeguarding the position of the lawyer to defend his or her clients. Even if they're murderers, if you don’t have the security to defend them, there is no judiciary system.

2) Emphasising the concept of fair trial, which is mentioned in international documents the regime has signed.

Under the concept of a fair trial, the key thing is to have access to lawyers and this is not being practiced. It is routinely being violated.

Article 168 of the Iranian constitution states:
'All political prisoners are afforded right to a jury trial and must be public'.

When there is not a jury during the trial, that trial is not legal even under the Islamic Republic's structure. This has been routinely violated since the 2009 elections."


About Mehrangiz Kar

In 2000, Mehrangiz Kar and sixteen other Iranian journalists, activists and intellectuals attended a conference held at the Heinrich Böll Institute in Berlin entitled “Iran After the Elections.”

Kar’s remarks about the urgent need for constitutional reform and on secularity in particular earned her censure.

Upon return to Iran, she was arrested and taken to Evin Prison, leveled with various charges, from “acting against national security” to “spreading propaganda against the regime of the Islamic Republic.” Kar was to be additionally tried on charges of “violating the Islamic dress code at the Berlin Conference,” “denying the commands of the shari‘a” and abusing sacred principles.

Imprisonment and cancer

On 13 January 2001 she was convicted and sentenced to four years imprisonment on charges of acting against national security and disseminating propaganda against the Islamic regime.

Following two months spent in prison, doctors learned that Kar had developed cancer.

Under pressure from the European Union and the government of Holland in particular, she was released temporarily for treatment in the US.

Arrest of husband

Two months later, her husband was arrested in Tehran and held incommunicado.

Only months later did they learn of his whereabouts as he was paraded before state television, visibly tortured. Pourzand had been accused of being a spy for America, an adulterer, working for the Shah’s regime and funneling funds from the US to the reformist press. The charges against him include espionage and threatening national security. It is thought that his disappearance may be connected to his position as manager of the Majmue-ye Farrhangi-ye Honari-ye Tehran, a cultural centre for writers, artists, intellectuals and activists.

He suffers from diabetes and a heart complaint.

Today, he is out of Evin on regulated medical leave, alternating between the hospital and his home. His prison sentence is outstanding.

Mehrangiz, in the meantime, remained in the US getting treatment, while in 2002, her criminal sentence was reduced to six months.

Human Rights Awards

Mehrangiz Kar has received numerous awards for her work to promote Human Rights.

She has also been recognized as a Scholar at Risk through an international network of universities and colleges working to promote academic freedom and to defend the human rights of scholars worldwide.

Mehrangiz has written a memoir and is currently at work on publications surrounding human rights and constitutionalism in Iran. She has written many articles (both Farsi and English) and published at least fifteen books.

Mehrangiz Kar's website is a means of Kar writing about the country that she was born and raised in; the government of Iran does not give her the right to publish her views within the country she once called home.

Most recently, Mehrangiz was presented with an awared on International Human Rights Day 2010 by the American Islamic Congress, New England Interfaith Council for her human rights activities.

Read Mehrangiz Kar's acceptance speech here.