Egypt: Ragia Omran: Tirelessly pursuing human rights with one foot in corporate law

December 19, 2017

In December, lawyer Ragia Omran was one of 15 rights defenders from around the world to receive the Franco-German Prize for Human Rights and the Rule of Law. She was also awarded the Robert F. Kennedy award for human rights in 2013.

At the award ceremony for the Franco-German Prize, held at the German Embassy in Cairo, a feisty Omran said, “Some people speak about the hypocritical nature of politics, but I don’t use such language. I am a pragmatic person, but it is not pragmatic to sell arms to warring factions in countries mired in terrible conflicts where children are dying and then support a human rights investigation at the same time. It is counterproductive to give a human rights award but be selective about rights, to talk the talk, but not walk the walk.”

Omran, who comes from an affluent background, has been entrenched in the human rights movement in Egypt for two decades, mostly as a volunteer, while simultaneously maintaining a practice in corporate law. Mada Masr sat with her for an hour as she reflected on these different aspects of her life.

Mada Masr: You have a career in corporate law, while being extremely engaged in human rights. How did this happen?

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