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Published on 2/28/2022

WASHINGTON, DC: Former NAWJ President and former IAWJ President Hon. Vanessa Ruiz to receive the NAWJ Lady Justice Award for Humanitarian Aid at the NAWJ Midyear Meeting March 10-12, 2022

Following the fall of Afghanistan to Taliban control, women judges of Afghanistan went into hiding, under threat of retribution for the rulings they made in criminal, terrorism, and family courts. Many have worked to try to save these courageous women. But Judge Ruiz, together with a committed group of IAWJ judges from around the world, has worked around the clock since August 2021 to advocate, protect, counsel, guide, and connect the judges to credible sources to ensure their safe transport out of Afghanistan. Through her efforts, approximately 150 judges have left Afghanistan and are now in other countries, mostly in countries of temporary refuge.

Judge Ruiz was a recognized icon in international law before she took on this new role. She speaks nationally and internationally on access to justice, judicial independence, and ethics and on the indispensable leadership role of women judges. She is the longest-serving appellate judge on the District of Colombia Court of Appeals and is the Past-President of the International Association of Women Judges. But it is her contribution to saving the lives and families and thereby saving the minds and future of women judges from Afghanistan that merits her recognition with the NAWJ Lady Justice Award for Humanitarian Aid.

About National Association of Women Judges (NAWJ)

Since its formation in 1979, the National Association of Women Judges (NAWJ) has inspired and led the American judiciary in achieving fairness and equality for vulnerable populations. NAWJ’s mission is to promote the judicial role of protecting the rights of individuals under the rule of law through strong, committed, diverse judicial leadership; fairness and equality in the courts; and equal access to justice.