US Secretary of State John Kerry will present the 2016 Secretary of State's International Women of Courage Award to a group of extraordinary women from around the world today at the US Department of State, a US State Department release said yesterday.
This year's 14 awardees include Barrister Sara Hossain, a lawyer in the Supreme Court of Bangladesh, and honorary executive director of Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust (BLAST).
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 has honoured nearly 100 women from 60 different countries.
The 2016 winners come from Bangladesh, Belize, China, France, Guatemala, Iraq, Malaysia, Mauritania, Russia, Slovakia, Sudan, Tanzania, Thailand, and Yemen.
The Department of State states Sara Hossain played a key role in drafting Bangladesh's first comprehensive legislation on violence against women, which became 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, it adds.