United States Department of State has awarded Nepali rights activist Muskan Khatun with the International Women of Courage (IWOC) award on Monday.
First lady of the USA Jill Biden felicitated Muskan with the award at a virtual programme. Conferring the award, Biden said that the women and girls receiving the award this year had different stories to tell. "They are angels and heroes. But they are the human beings who want basic rights and facilities along with the happiness," she said.
She hnonoured 21 women from across the world with the IWCA. "Justice can only be justice if it's for all. Your fight is our fight, and your courage calls us to come together again and again and again," she said.
The 15th Annual Award Ceremony, organised by the State Department on the International Women's Day, recognized women from 15 countries.
According to the State Department, seven women from Afghanistan were posthumously honoured while 14 living recipients were from Belarus, Cameroon, China, Colombia, Congo, Guatemala, Iran, Myanmar, Nepal, Somalia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Turkey and Venezuela.
Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State, said that these women have demonstrated exceptional courage and leadership while advocating for peace, justice, human rights, gender equality, and women's empowerment – often at great personal risk and sacrifice. "We know that when women are empowered, they are agents of positive change," he said.
"Muskan Khatun has been instrumental in bringing about new legislation criminalizing acid attacks and imposing strong penalties against perpetrators in Nepal. When Muskan was 15, she was critically injured in an acid attack after she rejected a boy’s romantic propositions," State Department said about Muskan.
Muskan expressed happiness that her effort was resulted in strict legal instrument against acid attack.