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Clinton Presents International Women of Courage Awards

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and First Lady Michelle Obama awarded 10 honorees with the International Women of Courage Award yesterday at the State Department.

Among Clinton's remarks, she said "we are honoring women from around the world who have endured isolation and intimidation, violence and imprisonment. Many have even risked their lives to advance justice, freedom, and equal rights for everyone. Their stories remind us of how much work there is left to do before the rights and dignity of all people - no matter who you are or where you live - are respected and protected by the world's governments. But these women prove that change is possible. They are brave and they are making a difference, and they are up against powerful interests determined to bring them down. By honoring them today, the United States and the Obama Administration sends a very clear message that though they may work in lonely circumstances, they are not alone."

Award recipient Jestina Mukoko of Zimbabwe spoke on behalf of the other recipients. She said, "The International Women of Courage award is a solidarity message that unites women from all over the world regardless of race, religion and color and we have learned that even language has failed to be a barrier to understanding and acknowledging what each one of us is doing. This indeed, Madame Secretary, not only resonates with your strong notion that women's rights are human rights, but is in line with the theme this year of the International Women's Day: equal rights, equal opportunities, progress for all," reported Democracy NOW.

Honorees included the following:

~ Shukria Asil of Afghanistan for "promoting government responsiveness to the needs of women"
~ Colonel Shafiqa Quraishi of Afghanistan for "integrating women into the government and police force"
~ Androula Henriques of Cyprus for "Fighting human trafficking"
~ Sonia Pierre of the Dominican Republic for "Ending discrimination based on country of origin and the human rights abuses of statelessness"
~ Shadi Sadr of Iran for "Advocating for women's legal rights and an end to execution by stoning"
~ Ann Njogu of Kenya for "Seeking social transformation and at the forefront of reforms in Kenya"
~ Dr. Lee Ae-ran of South Korea for "Promoting human rights in North Korea and aiding the refugee community in the Republic of Korea"
~ Jansila Majeed of Sri Lanka for "Strengthening rights for internally displaced persons"
~ Sister Marie Claude Naddaf of Syria for "working for social services for women"
~ Jestina Mukoko of Zimbabwe for "documenting human rights abuses"

Media Resources: International Women of Courage Award Web Site; Democracy NOW 3/11/10; Clinton Remarks 3/10/10

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