Washington, D.C. – March 21, 2005 – Two extraordinary pioneers in international human rights were honored by the International Association of Women Judges at a reception in Washington on March 10, 2005. The IAWJ event, which was held in recognition of International Women’s Day, introduced the Hon. Marzia Basel, founder and director of the Afghan Women Judges Association; and the Hon. Zakia Hakki, the first woman judge in Iraq, currently active in reconstructing the judiciary under the new Iraqi constitution.
The reception was hosted by Pepper Hamilton LLP and held at the firm’s office downtown.
Judge Marzia Basel founded the Afghan Women Judges Association in 2002. A former judge in the Public Security Court, both before and after the Taliban regime, Judge Basel served in a special category on the Loya Jirga Commission in 2002 and with various U.N. and other international agencies during the time of transition. She is an articulate spokesperson on behalf of women and human rights in Afghanistan.
Judge Zakia Hakki is a Faylee Kurd from Baghdad. A long-time advocate for human rights and women’s equality, she was active in anti-Saddam resistance. In 2003, Judge Hakki became an advisor to the Ministry of Justice from the Iraqi Reconstruction Development Council, and she has participated in redesigning the judicial and political system of the country. She promoted a decentralized government and an independent judiciary to preserve human and minority rights.
“These judges have made compelling contributions to the field of women’s rights in Afghanistan and Iraq,” said Donald H. Green, of counsel to Pepper Hamilton and a member of IAWJ’s board of managerial trustees. “Their resolve to make better the lives of those around them is truly inspirational.”
The International Association of Women Judges (www.iawj.org) is a nonprofit organization of more than 4,000 members at all judicial levels in 86 nations. Formed in 1991, the IAWJ unites women judges from diverse legal and judicial systems who share a commitment to equal justice and the rule of law. The IAWJ believes that women judges are in a unique position to advance the rights of women through the judicial system and to protect and empower women throughout the world.
Pepper Hamilton LLP (www.pepperlaw.com) is a multi-practice law firm with 400 lawyers in six states and the District of Columbia. The firm provides corporate, litigation and regulatory legal services to leading businesses, governmental entities, nonprofit organizations and individuals throughout the nation and the world. The firm was founded in 1890.