Sahar Halaimzai is a nonresident senior fellow at the South Asia Center as well as an Afghan-British rights advocate, writer and human rights campaigner. She has advocated for Uyghur rights in China, for free expression in Turkey; the inclusion of young people in the creative industries; the representation of diverse communities in the arts, and for the rights of writers and journalists at risk across the globe. Her experience includes seven years as the Global Head of Campaigns and Communications for the worldwide literary organisation, PEN International. From coordinating the delivery of food, blankets and other essentials to refugees in Calais and Greece, to organising global protests for the imprisoned writer and filmmaker Oleg Sentsov outside the Russian embassy in London, Sahar’s work has focused on bringing the voices of marginalised and silenced individuals and communities to centre stage. In 2018, she received the inaugural London Writers Award and is now working on her first book.
In 2019 she co-founded and today leads the Afghan campaign, Time4RealPeace, to counteract the exclusion of Afghan women, civil society and minorities from peace negotiations including talks between the US government and the Taliban and intra-Afghan talks. The core of the groups mission, which is made of a coalition of activist and rights groups from Afghanistan and the diaspora, is to capacity-build, provide a platform and amplify the voice of Afghans in a process that is likely to change the trajectory of their country, and ultimately their lives.
Over the last year, the campaign has been building a diverse, global coalition to support a meaningful and proper peace process, that at its centre includes women, victims, minorities and civil society. We have strengthened and grown our work to include leading and grassroots civils society and rights groups across Afghanistan, within diaspora communities, politicians, diplomats and policy makers across Europe and high-profile supporters.