2013: Ragia Omran, Egypt
Advancing Women's Rights, Rule of Law, and Democracy
RAGIA OMRAN has been at the forefront of the human rights movement in Egypt for twenty years. In 1995, she was a member of the Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) Task Force, which led a successful campaign outlawing the practice of FGM in public hospitals. At the height of the Arab Spring, when many wondered how the energy of the uprising could be harnessed to promote lasting political freedoms, she co-founded the Almasry Alhurr Movement, calling for government accountability, social justice, and an end to emergency law.
She and her colleagues have represented hundreds of civilians ordered to military trial as part of the Front to Defend Egypt Protesters and she is a leading member of Egypt's cutting edge legal advocacy organizations, including: the New Woman Foundation, advancing reproductive rights and the political participation of women; and the No to Military Trials for Civilians Campaign, fighting to end the military trials of Egyptian civilians. She is a volunteer at the Hisham Mubarak Law Center, representing victims of torture, arbitrary arrest, and detention. In her courageous pursuit of human rights, she has survived arrest and assault.
Since 2012, Ragia has also worked with Shayfeencom, a non-governmental organization formed in 2005. This non-profit organization is part of one of the first movements created in Egypt for popular election monitoring, including parliamentary and presidential elections, through a large network of volunteers representing all segments of the Egyptian population. The organization aims to document and stop election violations or forgery processes and to assist in maintaining the integrity and credibility of all elections in Egypt. Shayfeencom does not adopt any political or economic discourses or views.
Ragia Omran received the Robert F. Kennedy Award for Human Rights in 2013 for her work and activism in the field of human rights and defending women’s rights since 1995. She has also been honored by the Egyptian Lawyers’ Syndicate for her activism in the field of human rights in Egypt, and has been honored on Egyptian Women’s Day in March 2013 for her work and activism in the field of women’s rights and defending human rights. In 2012, she was also honored by Egyptians against Corruption and Shayfeencom Movement who awarded her the title of Warrior against Corruption for her work in No to Military Trials for Civilians in defending human rights and detainees.
Ms. Omran holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and History from Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania, a law degree from Cairo University, and a Masters of Law from Queen Mary College in London, where she was a British Council Chevening Scholar.