Human Rights Defender

There is life before and life after that day. On November 29, 1997, the brother of Houria Es-Slami, who has just presented his medical thesis, paid her a visit. He left the apartment to make a phone call but she never saw him again in her entire life. “ It is a wound that cannot be cured”, says Houria Es-Slami, the first woman elected president in 2015 of the United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances which has been in existence for 35 years. Nadia, as a defender of human rights; does not let the extent of the trauma transpire: "One must learn to control one's emotions. It is a work that one has to apply to one’s one self. I chose dialogue and not confrontation. Hasty reactions are destructive ". Born in the city of Oujda, she grew up in a family of eight children. Passionate about languages, she enrolled at the King Fahd Higher School for Translation in Tangiers. As a graduate, she was immediately recruited by the translation department of the General Secretariat of the Government. She remained there for seven years before moving to another position of responsibility within Isesco, the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. In 2007, Nadia joined the “Caisse de dépôt et de gestion” public financial institution as an office manager. Alongside her career, Houria Es-Slami works tirelessly to establish the truth about enforced disappearances and to counter oblivion. Since 2011, she is a member of the National Council of Human Rights in Morocco and chair of the working group responsible for the development of international relations, partnerships and cooperation. She was Chairperson of the “Morocco Alternatives Forum”, Executive Director of the Driss Benzekri Foundation for human rights and democracy. She is also a founding member of the Moroccan Forum for Truth and Justice. Through the reports she drafts, Houria Es-Slami carries the voice of several families of the world who entrust her stories to them in order to have their grievances conveyed : " I like the human dimension of our mission at the UN, which aims to achieve results and to give peace to entire families. I know the impact of a disappearance of a relative on the lives of loved ones ... “, she says with great decency.


100 Femmes

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