Rabiaa El Garani

Hope and justice for women who've survived ISIS

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About Rabiaa El Garani

As an experienced police investigator, Rabiaa El Garani has been deployed to many regions around the globe to investigate Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV). She has also provided training and guidance to Palestinian police forces through EU programs, as well as investigating the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Hariri with the UN. Rabiaa is part of the Justice Rapid Response-UN Women SGBV Justice Experts Roster, where she has been deployed as an investigator with the Commission of Inquiry on the Central African Republic, the Commission of Inquiry on Syria, the Fact Finding Mission in Iraq, and to the office of the UN Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict. Her unique and caring interview techniques have yielded valuable information in order to ensure accountability and future prosecutions. Through several of these efforts, Rabiaa was able to document distinct patterns carried out by ISIS and provided support to their victims. Among her accomplishments, Rabiaa was featured in JRR-UN Women documentary film Evidence of Hope. She currently works for the International Impartial Independent Mechanism for Syria as a senior investigator where she collects evidence to support accountability processes aimed at bringing about justice for the victims of serious international crimes committed in Syria.

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About This Talk


Through her work as a criminal investigator, Rabiaa El Garani facilitates healing and seeks justice for survivors of sexual abuse and violence in conflicted areas of the world. As Rabiaa explains, "For me it has been the experience of a lifetime to work with these survivors, because I share their sorrow, their language and their culture. We connect on the deepest human level—this itself is an act of healing—to be heard, to be seen, to be given compassion instead of condemnation."

Rabiaa has worked to make important advances in changing societal attitudes toward the survivors, so in some instances instead of facing shame, rejection and honor killing as a result of the sexual violence they have experienced, survivors are treated as victims and embraced by their former communities. This shift has been lifesaving, empowering some survivors to dare to escape captivity and return to their families and homes. Watch Rabiaa's 2018 TEDMED Talk, "Hope and justice for women who've survived ISIS" to learn more about her important work.

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