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Human rights activist Naziha Rjaibe “Oum Zied”

Naziha Rjiba known as “oum Zied” is a prominent human rights defender, a brave Tunisian journalist, and one of fiercest opponents of the former Tunisian president Zain El Abidin Ben Ali’s regime, where she has always chosen to be among the allies of the victims, defending their rights and fighting for the freedom of expression and human rights.

She has a master degree in Arabic literature and civilization, and taught for 33 years at Tunisian educational institutions.

Oum Zied started writing when she was still 17 years old, then she wrote in independent Tunisian newspapers for 10 years until she was banned from publishing because of an article published with “AlRay” newspaper in December 1988 about the ousted president Zain El Din Ben Ali. After that she started publishing online in “Kalima” and “Tunis News” websites until the fall of Ben Ali on the 15th of January 2011.

Oum Zied was a human rights and freedom of expression activist through her work with the National Council for Liberties, and the Observatory for Press Freedoms, Publishing and Creation, and she initiated a branch of Pen International in Tunisia.

After the first Tunisian elections in October 2014, she founded, with a group of activists, “Yakaza” organization or “vigilance” for democracy and civil state and was its president for three years. She cofounded the party “Congrès pour la République”, but she resigned after it became a ruling party with the success of the Tunisian revolution.

Oum Zied and her family were persecuted before the Tunisian revolution. In 2008, she received a summons to appear before the prosecutor for her article in which she held the Tunisian authority accountable for blocking “Kalima” website. She was exposed to a forced attempt of an offensive inspection at the Tunisian airport after evacuation of passengers. In addition her family faced attempts to ruin their reputation, and was subject to attacks and harassments.

Oum Zied won many international Awards as it is shown below: 

She won the Oxfam Novib/Pen international for freedom of expression in 2005, at a ceremony conducted in Berlin during the Pen International conference; it is a literary award for freedom of expression, given to persecuted writers. In 2009 she was given along with Dr Mohamed Talibi and Mrs Siham Benzedrine, the freedom to publish prize by the international publishers association in Oslo.

She has received the press freedom award by the Committee to Protect Journalists in New York on the 24th of November 2009, and in December 2012, after the revolution, she won the freedom of speech award by “Akademia” foundation one of the Tunisian higher education institutions.

Despite all the criticism she faced after her husband Mukhtar El Jalaili became the minister of agriculture in the government of Beji Caid Essebsi, she kept writing online and supporting “Yakaza”. She is also working on writing a book where she is including her rich experience that is featured with bravery and sincere word, defending citizens’ rights without any discrimination, and spreading the concepts of social justice, and respect of public freedoms in Tunisia.

For more information on how to take part of this campaign please visit the websites of The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) http://www.anhri.net, Maharat News  www.maharat-news.com , and the Gulf Centre for Human Rights www.gc4hr.org

 

TAG : ,The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) ,Gulf Centre for Human Rights ,IFEX ,Maharat Foundation