From child bride to UN human rights officer: one Iraqi woman’s journey

9 January 2020

An Iraqi woman who was forced to marry as a teenager and denied access to formal education, is speaking up for victims of human rights abuses. 

Jamila Mahdi was only 13 when her father married her off to a relative. She literally spent the next 12 years a slave:  working the land, tending livestock and caring for her four children in dire poverty. 

Ms. Mahdi began studying at home and later enrolled in university, eventually earning a Master’s Degree in Political Science.   

Today, she works as a Human Rights Officer with the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), monitoring violations and protecting civilians. 

Ms. Mahdi spoke to Shirin Yaseen about her incredible journey, her work with Yazidi women victims of ISIL, and her hopes for an Iraq where everyone enjoys their human rights. 

Audio Credit:
Shirin Yaseen
Audio Duration:


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