Her Excellency Dr. Hala Hameed, was appointed to the post of Permanent Representative of the Republic of Maldives to the United Nations Office in Geneva on 22 December 2015. Ambassador Hala also presented her credentials to His Excellency Johann Schneider-Ammann, President of the Swiss Confederation, on 20 October 2016 as Ambassador of the Republic of Maldives to Switzerland.
Ambassador Hala has been a particularly active proponent of gender equality and an advocate for universal representation at the Human Rights Council. Leading the Maldives delegation, she has guided discussions on human rights in Parliamentary processes and greater cooperation between legislative and rights based institutions. She has also provided leadership on human rights issues affecting Small Island Developing States, and other vulnerable populations.
Previously, as Minister of State for Law and Gender, since she joined the Yameen Administration, Dr. Hala was entrusted with the responsibility to lead the government’s Gender Policy; to empower women socially, economically and politically and to ensure zero tolerance for violence against women. Further, Dr. Hala also led the Ministry’s work for the protection and promotion of the rights of children.
Ambassador Hala’s recent work included engaging the public, especially the atoll communities on the importance of bringing women from backstage to centre stage in social and public life by advocating for equal opportunities for women and men, and also educating women on the significance of economic independence. Ensuring that the current government’s pledge on “zero tolerance on violence against women” through awareness programmes on the legal instruments to combat violence was a priority in Ambassador Hala’s work at the Ministry of Law and Gender.
Ambassador Hala lead the preparatory work for the review meeting of the UN Convention Against All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). Maldives Delegation and was a member at the high level delegation to Geneva in February 2015. She also attended the UNGA Special Session on Population and Development in New York, in September 2014. In October 2014, Ambassador Hala also attended the 5th Ministerial Conference on Women’s Development in Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) Member States. In November 2014, Ambassador Hala led the Maldives Delegation at the Asian and Pacific Conference on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment: Beijing +20 held in Bangkok. She was also on the four-member Resource Persons Panel on deliberations on the economic empowerment of women at this Conference.
Other positions held by Ambassador Hala until her appointment as Ambassador include, National Focal Point for ISESCO (Islamic Educational and Cultural Organisation); National Focal Point for SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) Gender Policy Advocacy Group (SAARC-GPAG); National Focal Point for OIC Organisation of the Islamic Conference) Country Family Affairs; Governing Board Member, SAIEVAC (South Asian Initiative for Elimination of Violence Against Children); and Gender Focal Point, Gender Affairs Programme/Colombo Plan.
Prior to her work in the Ministry of Law and Gender, Dr. Hala Hameed was the Vice Chairperson of the Police Integrity Commission (PIC) of the Maldives from 14th November 2012 to 11th December 2013. Dr. Hala was appointed as a Commissioner by President Mohamed Nasheed with the consent of the People’s Majlis on July 26th 2009 when the PIC was first established.
Ambassador Hala, holds a doctorate in Gender and Development from the University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK. Her ethnographic research in the Maldives, examined the nuances of intra-household gender relations from three perspectives; opportunities for women to engage in livelihood activities and the impact of economic independence on negotiating power in household relations; the cultural discourse of marriage and the impact of gender role expectations on women’s expression and experiences in decision-making; and, how women draw upon individual ‘assets’ and person hood to extend the scope of negotiating power.
Upon completion of her doctorate in July 2004 as a Commonwealth Scholar in the UK, she returned to her post as Director General at the President’s Office, Maldives. She initially joined the President’s Office in May 1989 as a Research Officer at the Foreign Relations Division and had risen through the ranks to a political post. She was appointed as Deputy Minister, Cabinet Division at the President’s Office in July 2006. Dr. Hala travelled extensively throughout her professional career and has been on the Maldives official delegation at several regional and international gatherings such as the SAARC Summit, the Commonwealth Summit and the UN General Assembly and international environmental forums.
Dr. Hala Hameed, is married to Abdul Ghafoor Yoosuf, with sons Yassar (20 years) and Aysar (18 years), and daughter Alya (14 years).