Mrs. Hanaa Edwar

Mrs. Hanaa Edwar - Iraq

Outstanding Arab Woman - 2013

Hanaa Edwar has been a human rights, women’s rights and democracy activist for more than 40 years. She is one of the founding members and the General Secretary of a non-political, non- sectarian and non-profitable association in Iraq called Al Amal. This association, established in 1992, is dedicated to improving the socioeconomic conditions of the Iraqi people. She is also the Co-Founder and heads the Coordination Committee of the Iraqi Women’s Network, which consists of more than 80 women’s organizations all over Iraq. Edwar is also the Co-Founder of the Civil Initiative to Preserve the Constitution. She successfully won a Supreme Federal Court lawsuit that forced Iraqi Parliament to resume its sessions in late 2010.   

Moreover, she is a member of the Executive Committee for Iraq National Congress and the Presidential Committee of "The Iraqi Council for Peace & Solidarity" . Edwar currently serves on the board of "Asuda", anIraqi based NGO with a mission to protect women against violence. 

Edwar has joined the humanitarian activism for many years, working from Kurdistan and Baghdad. A lawyer by training, her work is in the field of women’s rights and civil society organizations since her student’s years. She joined the Iraqi Women Association in her youth and was arrested in 1963. After managing to escape from prison, she moved to Germany to represent the Iraqi Women Association in the International World Federation of Democratic Women. She later moved to Lebanon then Syria and became a prominent activist against dictatorship.

Hanaa Edwar led countless campaigns for gender equality, enhancing women’s role in decision-making and the constitutional process. In 2010, she was part of the expert team that served for two years on drafting the Law on Protection from Domestic Violence in Iraq.

In 2011, she was awarded the Sean MacBride Peace Prize by the International Peace Bureau for her contribution to the advancement of democracy and human rights and for her firm standing against violence and war.

In December 2011, the United Nations mission in Iraq awarded her the Appreciation certificate of Human Rights Defender. Hanaa Edwar holds a law degree from Baghdad University.

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