Joumana Seif is a nonresident senior fellow with the Atlantic Council’s Strategic Litigation Project. She is also a Syrian lawyer and legal advisor for the International Crimes and Accountability program at the European Centre for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR), where she focuses on Syria and sexual and gender-based violence. In her position with the ECCHR, she worked on the al-Khatib trial before the Higher Regional Court of Koblenz—the first trial worldwide on torture in Syria—closely supporting the survivors.
Seif has worked in the human-rights field since 2001 and has supported democratic movements in Syria, focusing on political prisoners. In 2023, Seif received the Anne Klein Women’s Award from the Heinrich Böll Foundation for her work as a human-rights advocate. She left Syria in 2012, a year after the start of the uprising against the Assad regime. Since then, she cofounded the Syrian Women’s Network, the Syrian Feminist Lobby, and the Syrian Women’s Political Movement.
Seif was the chairwoman of The Day After: Supporting Democratic Transition in Syria and is a member of the Policy Coordination Group, a Syrian-led initiative on the missing and disappeared facilitated by the International Commission on Missing Persons.
She is a founding member of the Syrian Women’s Initiative for Peace and Democracy, calling for the promotion of a political solution to the Syrian crisis with women’s full and meaningful participation and rights at the core of any emerging national dialogue or negotiation process. From 2016 to 2017, Seif participated in the Civil Society Support Rooms established to ensure an inclusive political process at the Geneva peace talks on Syria.
Before the revolution, Seif was a member of the Damascus Declaration National Council from 2007 to 2012. She was the head of the Social Care and Development Department from 1994 to 2001 at Adidas Textile Company in Damascus, Syria.