TAHIRIH JUSTICE CENTER
PROTECTING IMMIGRANT WOMEN AND GIRLS FLEEING VIOLENCE
Our History Layli Miller-Muro founded Tahirih Justice Center in 1997 following her involvement as a student attorney in a high-profile case that revolutionized asylum law in the United States. Fauziya Kassindja, at the age of 17, fled her home country of Togo in fear of a forced marriage and female genital mutilation. She sought asylum in the United States, but instead of finding protection, she spent more than 17 months in detention.
While a student at American University’s Washington College of Law, Layli helped bring Fauziya’s case to the highest immigration court in the nation, and Fauziya was granted asylum in 1996 by the U.S. Board of Immigration Appeals. The decision set national precedent and established gender-based persecution as grounds for asylum. Following the publicity of the case, Layli received numerous requests for help from women in similar circumstances as Fauziya. She found few organizations able to assist. Using 100% of her proceeds from a book she and Fauziya co-authored, “Do They Hear You When You Cry,” Layli created Tahirih Justice Center to protect women and girls in need.
Founder’s Biography Since 2001, Layli Miller-Muro has led Tahirih Justice Center in its service to nearly 17,000 women and girls seeking protection from gender-based human rights abuses such as rape, female genital mutilation, domestic violence, human trafficking, honor crimes, and forced marriage. In recognition of its sound management and innovative programs, Tahirih won the Washington Post Award for Management Excellence and gained recognition for its innovative use of pro bono attorneys in the Stanford Social Innovation Review.
AWARDS & RECOGNITION Newsweek/Daily Beast’s 150 Most Fearless Women in the World Goldman Sach’s Top 100 Most Innovative Entrepreneurs Diane Von Furstenberg People’s Voice Award Meyer Award for Excellence in Non-Profit Management
Prior to joining Tahirih as Executive Director, Layli was an attorney at the law firm of Arnold & Porter LLP where she practiced international litigation and maintained a substantial pro bono practice. Prior to joining Arnold & Porter, Layli was an attorney-advisor at the U.S. Department of Justice, Board of Immigration Appeals. Layli received her JD and MA in International Relations from American University and BA from Agnes Scott College. Layli is a frequent lecturer and has appeared in numerous news outlets, including TEDx, Fox News, CNN, NPR, PBS, The New York Times, and The Washington Post. She lives in the Washington, DC area with her husband and three children. Layli has received numerous accolades for her work, including her most recent recognition as DC’s 2015 Young Mother of the Year.
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