Razan Zaitouneh (born 29 April 1977) is a prominent human rights lawyer, activist, and journalist in Syria. Razan has dedicated her life to defending political prisoners, documenting crimes against humanity, and helping others free themselves from oppression and starvation. She became a lawyer to defend the ideals she valued most – justice, freedom, and truth. 

Razan’s involvement in human rights advocacy began early in her career, leading to the government banning her from leaving the country in 2002. 

In 2005, Razan founded the Syrian Human Rights Information Link (SHRIL), Syria’s first public documentation resource for human rights violations. SHRIL unveiled numerous injustices faced by Syrians, putting the government under the microscope for the rest of the world to see.

As resistance grew into civil war, with the use of chemical weapons and other tools of destruction, she founded the Violations Documentation Center (VDC), which works to document the death toll and spread reports about conditions in Syria’s prisons. With the VDC, she compiled lists of the detained, the executed, and the disappeared. She did not hesitate to expose the truth, however brutal. Razan was officially denounced by the Assad regime in 2011. 
One month into the war, she co-founded a broad coalition of fellow human rights advocates to exchange information and broadcast eyewitness accounts; they set up a newsroom on Skype and posted videos to YouTube. The coalition, known as Local Coordination Committees, had a presence online and offline; they organized demonstrations, and used cell phones and cameras to document events in real time.
In testimonials online, Razan described not only the horror of conflict and daily violence, but the extreme hunger, a lack of medical services, and the breakdown of industry and opportunity. 
Razan was a moderate voice; she never joined a political party. She advocated for democratic reform and non-violent civil resistance. She relied on facts and believed that citizenship comes with responsibility. Most of the work was done in secret, with many activists using pseudonyms to preserve their safety. Razan, like other activists, was forced into hiding. As she worked, she moved from place to place, evading government forces. Razan risked her safety for her ideals. Regardless of how dire the situation became, with the unlawful detention of family members and threats to her own life, Razan persisted to fight for the humanity and dignity that all people deserve. Razan defended the value of every life, she believed that no one should be forgotten.   
On December 9, 2013, a group of masked gunmen stormed the VDC office in Douma, a city near Damascus that was under siege, and kidnapped Razan along with her husband, Wael Hamada, and their two colleagues, Nazem Al Hamadi and Samera Al Khalil. There has been no sign of her since.

Razan is an award-winning defender whose work will always be remembered. She was one of three finalists for the 2016 Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders, and was awarded the 2011 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought and the 2011 Anna Politkovskaya Award of Reach All Women in War (RAW in WAR), 2013  was granted the International Women of Courage Award, for her human rights work.