In conversation with Dr Hanan al Khalayleh - Director of the Human Rights Directorate, Ministry of Justice, Jordan
Dr Hanan, thank you for taking the time to speak with us today. In a couple of sentences, how would you describe yourself?
I'm a human who works to support humans and human rights. I study to protect vulnerable people and bring criminals to justice.
What did you want to do when you were younger?
I wanted to work in an international field to enhance the human rights system in my country.
Who was the most influential person in your life?
My father was my inspiration, as he imbedded in me the love for justice, honesty and protecting human rights. Above all, my main inspiration was his love of law, his wish to support vulnerable children and protect the rule of law.
What motto do you live by?
Justice and the rule of law.
What impact do you think you have had?
Working in anti-Trafficking in Persons, I can improve the responses to combatting this crime and dedicate my continuous efforts towards this work.
How have you helped change the story about women's role in the criminal justice sector?
Working in the criminal justice sector, I developed strategies for women and worked on protecting families from violence.
What do you say to people who underestimate you and/or women in general?
Women shouldn't only be seen as half of the earth's population; women can lead society, as they are fearless, truthful, and enthusiastic. Women are essential change-makers. I'm faithful in and loyal to my beliefs.
What advice do you have for women seeking a career in the criminal justice sector?
I'd advise them to focus on and support vulnerable groups that require our care and protection. To focus on studies in related fields and consider recommendations that address the needs of the vulnerable. By being well informed, women working in the sector will understand and utilize the available protection tools, procedures, and legislation.
What would you say to male colleagues that have reservations about working with/ for female colleagues?
I'd point out that usually, women are open to change and reform. I'd highlight that in addition to helping others succeed and working on strengthening our own capacities, it seems a well-known fact that women are excellent at multitasking.
What are some of the challenges that make having good representation difficult? At an institutional level, what reforms need to be implemented to address these challenges?
In addition to the invisible social pressures and responsibilities that a woman is usually faced with, a key challenge is for people to accept the presence of a woman in a leadership position. The solution is to learn to respect the opinions of others. To empower each other by using emotional and intellectual intelligence to build bridges of continuous understanding. We must create spaces of respect and transform opinions.
What impact might your story have on others leading organizations/ agencies tasked with addressing human trafficking and migrant smuggling?
My hope is that my story highlights the importance of continuous cooperation and capacity building, especially for women in the criminal justice sector. To better address the crimes, we must share knowledge, consider recommendations, be open and transparent about the challenges we face and must deal with. We must ensure the transfer of knowledge to professionals tasked with addressing human trafficking and migrant smuggling.