Nepal’s Muskan Khatun Wins 2021 International Women of Courage Award

Rights Activist Muskan Khatun Wins 2021 International Women of Courage Award

March 5, 2021, 10:52 a.m.

The United States Embassy in Nepal is pleased to announce Muskan Khatun will be awarded the prestigious International Women of Courage (IWOC) Award for her work to end acid attacks. First Lady of the United States Jill Biden and Secretary of State Tony Blinken will host a virtual event on March 8.

Now in its 15th year, the IWOC Award recognizes 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 and sacrifice. Previous winners include Malala Yousafzai, the youngest Nobel laureate, for her advocacy work for women and girls in Pakistan.

“Drumroll please! धेरै-धेरै बधाई। I’m absolutely thrilled to announce tht Nepal’s Muskan Khatun will be receiving the @StateDept ’s International Women of Courage Award for her work to end acid attacks. She’ll be the 1st Nepali to win & Keycap digit oneof the youngest awardees ever!,” tweeted Ambassador Randy Berry.

In 2019, at the age of 15, Muskan became the victim of an acid attack for rejecting a boy’s advances.  She suffered severe burns on her face, chest, and hands.  Her recovery was painful and continues to this day.

Despite this, Muskan turned a tragedy into an opportunity to bring about change in Nepal. Facing threats and social pressure, Muskan lobbied for stronger laws and punishments for acid attacks. She met with Prime Minister K.P. Oli who called for a new law to be drafted for acid attacks, and issued an ordinance punishing perpetrators and regulating the sale of chemicals.

According to a press release issued by U.S. Embassy in Nepal, Muskan’s leadership was crucial in bringing about change. The U.S. Embassy in Nepal is proud to support her and promote the advancement of women’s and girls’ rights in Nepal.

To watch the IWOC Award Ceremony, tune into the U.S. Embassy Facebook page Monday March 8, 8:30 pm.

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