Selma Hadzihalilovic, Bosnia human rights activist, has been named the 2016 recipient of the Clyde Snow Social Justice Award, presented by the Women’s and Gender Studies Program and the Center for Social Justice at the University of Oklahoma. The award honors the work of forensic anthropologist Clyde Snow, and is given biannually to a human rights activist or group with an outstanding record of working to support survivors of human rights abuses and advocate on behalf of communities in the pursuit of justice.
At the outbreak of war in Bosnia-Herzegovina, when she was just 16 years old, Hadzihalilovic helped create a shelter for women who were subjected to rape as part of the now-infamous program of ethnic cleansing and psychological warfare that was widely deployed during the war. For over two decades, Selma has worked together with other women activists and organizations from Bosnia and Herzegovina (including the BiH Women’s Network) to help women victims of war-related sexual violence, women returnees, conscientious objectors, and the promotion and protection of women’s human rights. Significantly, she works with victims of all ethnic and religious backgrounds, continuing the work of healing the physical and emotional wounds. At great personal cost, she prioritizes work in small towns and rural areas that are often forgotten in the aftermath of war.