Tagreed Hikmat (Jordan)


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“We need to bring peace to our hearts and minds because there is no healing without peace, no peace without justice, no justice without respect of human rights and the rule of law.”

Tagreed Hikmat, born in 1945, has worked for 20 years at national and international levels advocating human rights and combating domestic violence against children and women. A graduate of Damascus University in 1972, Tagreed eventually became the first female judge in Jordan, in an entirely male-dominated profession. She is the first Arab woman Judge for the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal, currently working on the case of Rwanda. She has worked towards enshrining the rights of children and women in the Jordanian legal system and improving their living conditions.

As a lawyer and then a judge, Tagreed Hikmat has been confronted with a number of struggles and obstacles in her life and career. The first struggle that she recalls was her position as the first female judge in Jordan. Owing to some biased voices in her country with regard to a woman serving as a judge – particularly in a criminal court – she faced fierce opposition towards her appointment to the post. Having proved her aptitude within her society and the country’s legal community she has set an avid example as a groundbreaker for so many women in her profession who have come after her. As a lawyer she struggled for 15 years until finally being appointed as a judge. Since then, there have been over 20 female judges appointed in Jordan. Tagreed also considers her appointment to the UN International Criminal Tribunal as a major challenge. Out of 18 judges elected from around the world to serve on the Tribunal, she received one of the highest scores of votes from the UN member States. Her work now focused on the application of international law, Tagreed considers her upcoming struggle to be the strengthening of the International Criminal Court to combat the continuation of war and violence. Throughout her work, both nationally and internationally, Tagreed has continued to draw her spiritual strength from her personal relationship with God. She also draws a great deal of emotional support from her family and friends, who remain very important to her throughout her activities. In the future, Tagreed hopes to work towards promoting peace in the Middle East, more specifically in Palestine and Israel, because as she says, “Peace is the only solution to all problems, disputes, conflicts and war in the region.”

United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) General Federation of Jordanian Women (GFJW) Arab Women Organization (AWO)

Central Asia and the Middle East | Jordan

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