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Attacks on civil society in Egypt – WHRD perspectives
May 28, 2021 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pmFree
Internationally renowned human rights defender and lawyer Azza Soliman discusses the current state of civil society in Egypt, where numerous human rights lawyers have been threatened, persecuted and detained in the past few years. What is the future outlook for civil society actors and human rights defenders in Egypt? What are their hopes?
Azza Soliman is an internationally renowned Egyptian human rights defender and a lawyer who works tirelessly as a women’s rights defender and human rights lawyer. In 1995, Ms. Soliman founded the Center for Egyptian Women’s Legal Assistance (CEWLA) to provide legal assistance to women who are survivors of abuse and domestic violence, as well as women hailing from marginalized communities such as victims of trafficking in women and domestic violence. CEWLA seeks to provide women with the skills and abilities that enable them to exercise their life and overcome problems. Soliman is also co-founder of Musawah international movement for equality and justice in the Muslim family.
During 25 years of her humanitarian work, Soliman has influenced many laws in Egypt, including providing rights for children born out of wedlock and including the mother’s name on all birth certificates. She works on a progressive interpretation of Islamic law that is based on lived realities and human rights standards; on amending family laws for both Muslims and Christians in Egypt; and is calling for a civil law for all Egyptians. In 2015, she spearheaded a campaign to protect witnesses and whistle-blowers after a traumatic personal experience. She has been a board member of Aurora Humanitarian Initiative since 2019.
In 2017, Soliman was awarded 2nd place in the Allard Prize, which is awarded for “exceptional courage and leadership in combating corruption or protecting human rights”. In 2018, Azza was awarded the Martine Anstett Award, and in 2020, she was awarded the Franco-German Human Rights and the Rule of Law Prize.