Unfinished Revolution: Women Human Rights Defenders in the Middle East and North Africa
New Report

A new report on the status of Women Human Rights Defenders in MENA since the Arab Spring. The revolution is not over.

Over a decade ago, women activists took to the streets in great numbers in several Middle East and North African countries to lead and join in the call for wide-ranging social and political reforms.

It was a hopeful time and the promise of a better day shimmered on the horizon. There was excitement about the future.

On the occasion of IWD2022, we’d like to share Unfinished Revolution, a new report from the Nobel Women’s Initiative, featuring 15 feminist leaders and women human rights defenders – legal and social justice experts and humanitarians –  sharing their thoughts and analysis about the aftermath, and the degree to which the promise had been fulfilled or derailed.

An overview of the status of women human rights defenders in the Middle East and North Africa can be found on the Unfinished Revolution website, where the report, in English and in Arabic, is available for download.


The website also features video testimonials and interactive maps providing further insight into the region.

Many defenders have experienced judicial persecution, imprisonment, torture, exile, or travel bans.

Nevertheless, these women have persisted in their advocacy – attracting international recognition and solidarity, capturing the eyes and ears of the powerful and the influential, taking their rightful place at the peace table, pursuing financial resources as well as support for mental health and the well-being of the activists and defenders. During COVID some lent their considerable organizational and networking superpowers to the humanitarian response.

The revolution is not over.

“We don’t have the luxury to stop or lose hope. The more resistant and resilient we are, the more we push the state and people to change their mindsets towards respecting women and human rights.”

Azza Soliman
Egyptian lawyer, human rights defender, feminist
Co-founder, Center for Egyptian Women’s Legal Assistance

Featured activists, human rights defenders and feminist leaders:

Dr. Leila Alikarami, Lawyer, Human Rights Advocate and Women’s Rights Expert, Iran

Intisar Al-Mayali, Writer, Poet and Journalist, Iraq

Omaima Al Najjar, Physician, Saudi Arabia

Nedal Al Salman, Acting President of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, Bahrain

Fahima Hashim, Director of the Salmmah Women’s Resource Centre, Sudan

Mozn Hassan, Executive Director, Nazra for Feminist Studies, Egypt

Mariam Jalabi, Representative of the Syrian Opposition to the United Nations, New York

Rasha Jarhum, Director, Peace Track Initiative, Yemen

Muna Luqman, Co-founder, Women’s Solidarity Network, Yemen

Yanar Mohammed, Co-founder and Director of the Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq

Hana Saleh, Executive Manager, Belqees Media and TV, Yemen

Joumana Seif, Activist and Lawyer, Co-founder of the Syrian Women’s Network and Syrian Women’s Political Movement, Syria

Maryam Shafipour, Human Rights Activist, Iran

Azza Soliman, Lawyer, Feminist and Human Rights Defender, Egypt

The Women Human Rights Defenders MENA Coalition, Lebanon