Dhaka – The US Department of State has named Barrister Sara Hossain and 13 other extraordinary women from around the world to honour them with its International Women of Courage Award.
US Secretary of State John Kerry will present the 2016 Secretary of State’s International Women of Courage Award to them at the US Department of State on Tuesday.
The Award annually recognises women around the globe who have demonstrated exceptional courage and leadership in advocating for peace, justice, human rights, gender equality and women’s empowerment, often at great personal risk.
Since the inception of this award in 2007, the Department of State has honoured nearly 100 women from 60 different countries, according to the US Department of State.
Sara Hossain, daughter of eminent jurist Dr Kamal Hossain, is a human rights lawyer who has fought on behalf of Bangladesh’s most disadvantaged and marginalised citizens, particularly women and girls, in Bangladesh’s highest courts of law.
A barrister in the Supreme Court of Bangladesh and the Honorary Executive Director of Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust, Sara played a key role in drafting the country’s first comprehensive legislation on violence against women, which became a law in 2010.
She has brought landmark cases challenging practices such as forced veiling, the use of fatwas to impose degrading punishments on women and girls, and the use of non-medical procedures to judge a woman’s virginity in rape and sexual assault cases.
Sara’s courage, passion, and integrity have earned her the trust of her clients, and respect from human rights advocates around the world.
The 13 other 2016 awardees are Debra Baptist-Estrada, Port Commander, Belize Immigration and Nationality, Belize, Ni Yulan, Human Rights Activist, China, Latifa Ibn Ziaten, Interfaith Activist, France, Thelma Aldana, Attorney General, Guatemala, Nagham Nawzat, Yezidi Activist and Gynecologist, Iraq, Nisha Ayub, Transgender Rights Advocate, Malaysia, Fatimata M’baye, Co-founder and President of the Mauritanian Association for Human Rights, Mauritania, Zhanna Nemtsova, Journalist and Activist, Russia, Zuzana Števulová, Director of the Human Rights League, Slovakia, Awadeya Mahmoud, Founder and Chair of the Women’s Food and Tea Sellers’ Cooperative and the Women’s Multi-Purpose Cooperative for Khartoum State, Sudan, Vicky Ntetema, Executive Director of Under the Same Sun, Tanzania, Rodjaraeg Wattanapanit, Bookstore Owner and Co-founder of Creating Awareness for Enhanced Democracy, Thailand and Nihal Naj Ali Al-Awlaqi, Minister of Legal Affairs, Yemen.
On April 1, the honorees will travel to cities across the United States to engage with the American people through an International Visitor Leadership Programme.
They will visit Missouri, Kentucky, Alabama, California, North Carolina, Michigan, Minnesota, and Pennsylvania on their individual programs.
The women will reconvene in Los Angles to reflect on their visit and discuss ways to work together to improve the lives of women and girls around the world.
To mark the milestone of honouring nearly 100 women from 60 countries over 10 years, the State Department will host a forum following the ceremony. – UNB