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Afghan human-rights activist wins Tipperary International Peace Prize

Dr. Sima Samar presenting her report on Sudan during the UN Human Rights Council 9th session. Dr Samar is Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Sudan and the Chairperson of the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission. Flickr/UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferre.The 2010 Tipperary International Peace Prize has been awarded to Afghan human-rights activist Dr Sima Samar.

The Tipperary Peace Convention said in statement said that Dr Samar was "an amazingly brave woman who has risked her life to fight for the rights of women and girls in both Afghanistan and Pakistan."

Dr Samar leads the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission. A medical doctor by profession, she served as the UN Special Rapporteur to monitor human rights in Sudan from 2005 to 2009.

Also on the shortlist for the Tipperary Peace Prize was former Irish president Mary Robinson and the Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi who was finally released after 15 years of house arrest in November. The UN's top official in Gaza, Irishman John Ging, was also in the running for the accolade.

Previous recipients of the award have included Bob Geldof, Bill Clinton, Nelson Mandela and Mikhail Gorbachev.

The award was posthumously given to the late US  Senator Ted Kennedy last year and his widow Vicki and sister Jean Kennedy Smith accepted it on his behalf at a ceremony in Co Tipperary.

The Tipperary Peace Convention has awarded its prize every year since 1984.

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