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Culture ministry awards activist Ujuni Ahmed for human rights work

The writer and influencer has been an outspoken critic of female genital mutilation (FGM) and so-called "honour" killings.

Human rights activist Ujuni Ahmed. Image: Petteri Sopanen / Yle

Finland's Ministry of Education and Culture has hailed human rights activist Ujuni Ahmed for her "exceptional and valuable" contribution to contemporary Finland, as the writer and influencer received an award from the ministry in recognition of her work.

Ahmed co-wrote a book with Elina Hirvonen entitled Tytöille, jotka ajattelevat olevansa yksin (roughly translated as "For girls, who think they are alone"), which highlights how women and girls continue to be victims of the abuse of power.

Ahmed is also known as the Director of the Fenix Helsinki organisation, which works with immigrant women and children, as well as an outspoken critic and activist against the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) and so-called "honour" killings.

In February 2020, she received the Finnish PEN freedom of speech award.

Ahmed will share a 15,000 euros prize fund with six other people — comprising musicians, artists, actors and a film director — as well as a long-running city festival.

The other award recipients include film director and screenwriter Alli Haapasalo — whose recent film Girl Picture won a prize at this year's Sundance Film Festival — as well as art gallery curator Veikko Halmetoja, sculptor Kirsi Kaulanen, actress Kaija Pakarinen, musician Sanna Salmenkallio and folk singer Jaakko Teppo.

The long-running Jyväskylä festival, Yläkaupungin Yö (roughly translated as "Uptown Night"), was also recognised by the ministry as contributing significantly to the availability and accessibility of culture in the Central Finland city.

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