Raya Al Hassan: The Arab world's first female interior minister

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By Meriam Chehab
Lebanon's new Interior Minister Raya Al Hassan
Lebanon's new Interior Minister Raya Al Hassan

The first female interior minister in the Arab world, Lebanon's Raya Al Hassan, says her appointment is a "unique experience that needs to be mainstreamed and generalised in other countries in the region".

Al Hassan's appointment not only came as a surprise to the Arab world but also to the new minister.

But, she stressed in a telephone interview with Euronews, it should become the norm.

"Certainly there is no problem with a woman assuming an exceptional and sovereign portfolio in our country," she said.

The politician told Euronews her priorities as interior minister include dealing with security, domestic violence and the economic burden partially posed by almost 1.5 million Syrian refugees.

On the topic of domestic violence, she pledged support for victims.

"Police posts in every village or city of Lebanon have to listen to abused women and take in consideration women's complaints... I will be strict about this issue," she said.

As the first female interior minister, she also said that giving women the right to pass their nationality to their husbands and children was another priority.

The date of the interview, February 14, coincides with a momentous anniversary for Lebanon.

Thursday marked the 14th anniversary of a bombing that killed the first leader of the Sunni community in Lebanon, Rafic Hariri, father of the current Prime Minister Saad Hariri, and 21 others.

The attack changed the face of Lebanon and perhaps the region as a whole.

No one has yet been charged for the bombing, but Al Hassan said the international tribunal charged with investigating the issue was hard at work.

"We insist on the truth and nothing but the truth," she said.