Welcome to Maryam Al-Khawaja's Website

Welcome to Maryam Al-Khawaja's Website

Welcome to Maryam Al-Khawaja's WebsiteWelcome to Maryam Al-Khawaja's WebsiteWelcome to Maryam Al-Khawaja's Website

Human Rights Activist




About Me

Delivering an oral intervention at the Human Rights Council

I am a Bahraini Woman Human Rights Defender who works as a consultant and trainer on Human Rights.

I am a leading voice for human rights and political reform in Bahrain and the Gulf region. I have been influential in shaping official responses to human rights atrocities in Bahrain and the Gulf region by leading campaigns and engaging with prominent policymakers around the world. 

I played an instrumental role in the pro-democracy protests in Bahrain’s Pearl Roundabout in February 2011. These protests triggered a government response of widespread extra judicial killings, arrests, and torture, which I documented extensively over social media. Due to my human rights work, I was subjected to assault, threats, defamation campaigns, imprisonment and an unfair trial. I was arrested on illegitimate charges in 2014 and sentenced in absentia to one year in prison. I currently have an outstanding arrest warrant and four pending cases, one of which could carry a life sentence. 

I serve on the Boards of the International Service for Human Rights, Urgent Action Fund, CIVICUS and the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy. I previously served as Co-Director at the Gulf Center for Human Rights and Acting President of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights. 

I aim to offer my expertise and unique skillset to serve the missions of individuals and organizations seeking to secure accountability and human rights for all.


My Expertise

  • Consulting: Specialties include government advocacy, internal restructuring, development of internal protocols, creation of multi-year organizational strategic and implementation plans, social media, and development of fundraising strategies.

  • Speaking: I deliver speeches, lectures and participate in high-level panels on a variety of topics, including Business and Human Rights, Tech and Human Rights, United Nations bodies and mechanisms, Less-lethal weapons, Social media, Freedom of expression, Freedom of assembly and association, Women's rights, Civil society space, and immigration issues. I am adept at regional and country-specific analysis, and specialize in the MENA region, particularly Gulf countries. 

  • Advocacy: I am an experienced human rights advocate, lobbying around the world on issues spanning from torture to the sale of surveillance technology. I have vast experience conducting meetings with government officials, including foreign ministers and members of parliament. I have testified at numerous platforms, and my advocacy has included extensive liaising with a variety of UN bodies in Geneva and New York.

  • Training: I have expertise in organizing and delivering trainings on a variety of topics, chief among them being Advocacy and Campaigning, Basic Digital Security, Physical Security, Social Media for Human Rights, Ethical Data Collection and Business and Human Rights.

  • Documentation: I have taken part in several fact-finding missions (Turkey, Iraqi Kurdistan and the Syrian/Turkish border) as an expert in documenting human rights violations. My work on these missions resulted in reports subsequently used for advocacy.

  • Litigation: I have led and am involved in OECD/litigation cases pertaining to human rights. Some of these cases were related to torture, the sale of spyware and the building of prisons in undemocratic countries in which human rights defenders are imprisoned. 


My Passions

My passion is first and foremost my activism and working with grassroots activists to create change. 

Outside of work, I love writing poetry and short stories, going hiking, listening to music, taking long drives, rock climbing and going to the gym.

Contact Me

Get in Touch!

Whether you're looking to contact me about training, consulting, speaking or a project, feel free to drop me a line here and I will get back to you as soon as I can.

Maryam Al-Khawaja