Algerien: Zazi Sadou

The source of my energy is women’s courage, intelligence and indomitable belief in achieving a better world: one that is just for them and for their children, one that we can build together.

— Zazi Sadou

Over the last decade Zazi Sadou has been actively advocating women's rights in a highly vulnerable environment. She has been sentenced to death by Algerian religious extremists for probing the question of how and why hundreds of Algerian girls were raped by Islamist militants. Sadou is a spokeswoman and founding member of The Algerian Assembly of Democratic Women (AADW). Created in 1993, the Assembly is dedicated to combating human rights violations and to advance women’s legal status.

Exposing her vision of peace in the world, Zazi Sadou says, “Peace must become the focal issue in all international relations talks. It has become clear that we need to re-consider the significance of peace in our lives and to advocate social justice. To get to that point, it is essential to bolster and help women worldwide, especially those in the South, to rise to their duties. We have to strive for women to be represented in governments and decision-making spheres so that their needs are vocalized in official platforms. In Algeria, for instance, it is difficult to envisage the state accepting equal treatment of men and women. The future of our world depends equally on women and men. In Algeria women’s participation in every sphere of private and public life is of paramount importance, where the long-entrenched fundamentalist regime is violating women’s rights as citizens.” Zazi emphasizes the influential role that women undertake in society. She adds, “A woman’s life is replete with painstaking commitments. She has work duties outside the home, as well as domestic and social duties within the family. And if she is involved in political activities, the situation becomes even more exacerbated; for in a conservative society the realm of expressing public opinion is strictly male-dominated. Women who publicly vocalize their political views are invariably underrespected, for this indicates that they have no family or male guardian to control their behavior. There are many factors which bar women from full participation in public life. Primarily these include the unfounded long-established traditional customs and value systems in society. It is with this reality that we have to contend and against which we have to continue to fight in order to change the established order.”

Algerian Assembly of Democratic Women (AADW) Women Living under Muslim Laws (WLUML)