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Habiba Osman

2017 Fellow

Specialist for the Elimination of Violence against Women and Girls, UN Women


Habiba is a well-versed professional in human rights and gender. Currently, Habiba is leading the Malawi Human Rights Commission in the capacity of CEO/ Executive Secretary, a Constitutional Body, that is mandated to promote and investigate human rights violations in Malawi.Habiba has worked in various capacities in human rights gender and law programs with several organizations; Civil Liberties Committee, Norwegian Church Aid, and UN Women, an entity that works to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment.In her former roles, she contributed to the enactment and advocacy of several gender-related laws and policies, including contributing to the drafting of the national Gender policy, Albinism National Action plan, the African Strategic Plan for UN Women. Habiba has been appointed to sit in the Presidential National Taskforce on Rape and Defilement, Trustee for the National Initiative for Civic Education in Malawi, and also anchors/ supports the work of Commission which sits on the Presidential Taskforce on Corona Virus/ Covid-19.

Habiba has been recognized internationally for her advocacy and spearheading efforts. Highlights of awards received include:

  • Appointment as Mentor forHiiL Justice Accelerator Mentor Network (The Hague, Netherlands) for her role in supervising local human rights activists and start-ups.
  • Awarded a Global Freedom Exchange Fellowship for her work in sex trafficking by Vital Voices, Heineken, and Hilton Hotels USA.
  • Achievement Award by the Malawi Government, through the Ministry of Home Affairs and Internal Security, as one of the key pioneers in changing the face of trafficking in persons in Malawi.
  • Awardedthe prestigious Fulbright Scholarship (2010-11). As a Fellow, she obtained an LLM in International Human Rights Law at the Centre for Civil and Human Rights, Notre Dame Law School, USA.
  • Participated in the International Visitor Leadership Programme upon selection by the US Department of State