US recognising 'International Women of Courage'


Cuban dissident Martha Beatriz Roque Cabello gives an interview in Havana, Cuba Feb 23, 2024. [AP Photo]

The U.S. State Department is presenting its annual International Women of Courage Awards during a ceremony Monday at the White House.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and First Lady Jill Biden are hosting the event, with the awards this year going to women from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Myanmar, Cuba, Ecuador, Gambia, Iran, Japan, Morocco, Nicaragua and Uganda.

The awards launched in 2007 and are presented to women “who have demonstrated exceptional courage, strength, and leadership in advocating for peace, justice, human rights, gender equity and equality, and the empowerment of women and girls,” according to the State Department.

Among those being honored this year are nine women from Nicaragua who were part of a group of political prisoners released there last year. The State Department said the activists “continue to fight for democracy and human rights under a repressive regime.”

Fawzia Karim Firoze of Bangladesh is being honored for her work as a Supreme Court advocate who has fought for the rights of marginalized groups.

Ajna Jusić from Bosnia and Herzegovina was selected in honor of her work on behalf of children born of rape during war.

From Cuba, Martha Beatriz Roque Cabello is being recognized for leading human rights and religious freedom movements in her country.

Agather Atuhaire is being honored for work to promote human rights and the rule of law in Uganda.