The State Department recently gave out its annual International Women of Courage Awards.
The women honored have worked to ensure that their nations’ legal systems protect all people, no matter their gender, beliefs, or background, said Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights Uzra Zeya:
“And when those systems cannot – or will not – protect every citizen, they have fought to transform them. They have broken barriers, risen to new heights, and inspired other young women to follow their lead.”
One of those recognized is Dr. Zakira Hekmat. Born in Afghanistan, Dr. Hekmat founded the Afghan Refugee Solidarity Association in Türkiye and has helped many Afghans gain refugee protection and asylum.
Alba Rueda, Argentina’s Special Envoy for Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, was instrumental in passing the Transgender Labor Quota Act.
In the Central African Republic, Professor Danièle Darlan was recognized for her defense of her nation’s constitution.
Ms. Doris Ríos of Costa Rica is involved in multiple initiatives to improve indigenous lives.
Meaza Mohammed of Ethiopia, a veteran Ethiopian journalist, has reported on survivors of gender-based violence and worked to find treatment for victims.
In Jordan, human rights activist Hadeel Abdel Aziz is the founder of the Justice Center for Legal Aid, which provides services to thousands of vulnerable individuals every year.
Bakhytzhan Toregozhina from Kazakhstan is a civil society activist who has campaigned for the protection of human rights in Kazakhstan for decades.
Senator Datuk Ras Adiba Radzi from Malaysia has spent most of her professional life advancing and promoting human rights, using her platforms to shed light on injustices in Malaysian society.
Brigadier General Bolor Ganbold from Mongolia became the first woman general in the Mongolian Armed Forces in 2022.
Bianka Zalewska is a Polish journalist who has documented Russian aggression in Ukraine since 2014 and advocated for the people of Ukraine for more than a decade.
Yuliia Paievska of Ukraine is best known for her work secretly filming and smuggling out videos documenting atrocities committed by Russian forces in Mariupol.
And finally, the Madeleine Albright Honorary Group Award went to the women and girl protestors of Iran.
“To our honorees,” said Secretary Blinken, “the United States is proud to be by your side, as you and others wage those hundred small battles, day in, day out. And we will be there and be there with you for the long haul.”