Azza Soliman is an Egyptian women’s rights defender and human rights lawyer. She is also one of the pioneers of Islamic feminism in Egypt.
Ms. Soliman founded the Centre for Egyptian Women's Legal Assistance (CEWLA) to provide legal assistance for women who are survivors of violence, abuse or come from marginalized communities such as refugees and victims of trafficking. Through the legal assistance offices affiliated to her organisation, vulnerable women have access to free legal, as well as psychosocial support, and are able to rebuild their lives. CEWLA also works on combatting female genital mutilation, incest and child marriage.
The importance of her academic work and policy recommendations are highly recognised, even by legislators and religious leaders. This is why Azza Soliman is able to stir community dialogue on the most sensitive issues.
In the context of an increasing restrictive policy towards civil society, the new NGO law severely hampers the work of civil society in Egypt. In this political climate, Azza Soliman remains one of the most vocal and critical Human Rights Defenders. The Egyptian government is investigating Azza Soliman in the case known as the 'foreign funding case’ targeting several well-known Egyptian NGOs and human rights defenders. As a result, she was issued a travel ban and the freezing of both her personal assets as well as the assets of her law firm. Azza Soliman now faces a life-long imprisonment because of her brave human rights work.
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