Joint statement on the passing of Maha Abu Dayyeh

Statement by Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women, and Radhika Coomaraswamy, lead author of the Global Study on Implementation of Security Council resolution 1325


It is with great sadness and regret that we learn of the passing away of Ms. Maha Abu-Dayyeh (24 August 1951 – 9 January 2015), a leading Palestinian women’s rights activist and a valued member of the United Nations High-Level Advisory Group of the Global Study on implementation of Security Council resolution 1325. We offer our sincerest condolences and best wishes to her family and friends.

Ms. Abu-Dayyeh’s passing is a great loss for women’s rights globally, but most particularly in her native Palestine, where she strove to cultivate a democratic society embracing human rights, equitable justice, and gender equality with relentless commitment and dedication. A pioneering leader, she was a founding member of the Women’s Centre for Legal Aid and Counselling in East Jerusalem, which is today a leading women’s rights organization in the region.

A remarkable woman, Ms. Abu-Dayyeh’s ceaseless work and unwavering commitment to advance women’s rights globally have inspired all of us who are working for this same goal to reach ever higher, and to realize ever more tangible results.

Despite imperfect health, Ms. Abu-Dayyeh agreed to serve this year as an esteemed member of the High-Level Advisory Group of the Global Study on Security Council resolution 1325. Her support and expertise have been invaluable in shaping the initial thinking of the Study, which will be presented to the UN Security Council in October as part of the High-Level Review of Security Council resolution 1325. Her inputs will deepen the Study’s reflection of both the devastating impact of conflict on women and girls, as well as inform the recommended commitments and action needed to empower women to play more active roles in conflict mitigation, humanitarian assistance and peace negotiations. This will be a fitting legacy for someone who has already contributed so much to this arena.

Thank you for your unwavering dedication and compassion, Maha. May you rest in peace.