(Cairo, Beirut – 16 May 2017) – The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI), Maharat Foundation, and the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR), in cooperation with IFEX, have selected prominent human rights defender Hanaa Edwar from Iraq as the Defender of Human Rights and Freedom of Expression for the month of May 2017, as part of the campaign entitled “Supporting Human Rights Defenders and Freedom of Expression.”
Hanna Edwar is known for her relentless efforts to defend and protect public freedoms, including freedom of opinion and expression and freedom of the press. She also works to improve the status of human rights and the defense of women’s rights in Iraq. She is co-founder and Chair of the Iraqi Al-Amal Association, which was set up in 1992, and co-founder of the Civil Initiative for the Preservation of the Constitution. In August 2010, she made a complaint before the Federal Supreme Court against the President of the Parliament after he declared the first session an open session without electing a permanent President; the resulting decision of the Court was crucial in the resumption of the parliament’s daily meetings. Edwar currently works tirelessly with Iraqi civil society organisations to campaign for the adoption of the Freedom of Assembly and Peaceful Demonstration Act, the Domestic Violence Act, the Protection of Diversity Act and the Prevention of Discrimination Act. She was awarded the Seán MacBride Peace Prize in 2011 by the International Peace Bureau.
Hanaa Edwar is the fourth human rights defender to be nominated by the campaign “Supporting Human Rights Defenders and Freedom of Expression.” The first nominee was prominent woman human rights defender and brave Tunisian journalist Naziha Rjiba (also known as “Om Zied”). See: http://anhri.net/?p=182535&lang=en. She was followed by prominent human rights defender and blogger Ahmed Mansoor from the United Arab Emirates, who has been arbitrarily detained since 20 March 2017. See: http://anhri.net/?p=183512&lang=en. Prominent human rights lawyer Gamal Eid from Egypt was chosen as a defender of human rights and freedom of expression for April 2017.