Aayat Alqormozi receives the Student Peace Prize for her unwavering struggle for democracy and human rights in Bahrain, says Head of the Student Peace Prize Committee Jørn Wichne Pedersen.

In the aftermath of the Arab Spring, Alqormozi was arrested and imprisoned for having recited a pro-freedom poem on Pearl Square. The poem criticizes the governance of the regime in Bahrain, and demands for the king, Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa, to grant equal rights to both Shia- and Sunni Muslims. After her recital, Aayat Alqormozi was expelled from the university, abused and imprisoned. “The strength to fight against oppression and violence, without resorting to the same means, signifies an admirable devotion to the path of peace. By raising her voice again, despite being imprisoned, tortured, harassed, threatened and expelled from her studies, Aayat Alqormozi has shown remarkable courage that should inspire students and artists from all corners of the world,” the committee writes in its award statement. “The protests in Bahrain are the forgotten Arab Spring,” Wichne Pedersen says. “The protesters demanded political reform, social justice and respect for human rights. Shia Muslims account for approximately 70% of Bahrain’s population, but are still subjects of discrimination by the governing Sunni elite and the royal family al-Khalifa,” he says. The 23-year-old woman has – through her peaceful, non-violent demonstrations – become a symbol of the uprising against the regime. She has, moreover, become a voice for women and students who work for democracy and human rights in Bahrain. The committee has decided that the Student Peace Prize will go to this woman for her peaceful fight for democracy in Bahrain. Her voice keeps inspiring hundreds of young people to fight against injustice in their home country.