Awardee Fariba Balouch of Iran during the 18th annual International Women of Courage Award Ceremony ahead of International Women's Day at the White House in Washington, US, March 4, 2024

Iranian Activist Receives International Women Of Courage Award

Tuesday, 03/05/2024

Fariba Balouch, a prominent women's rights activist from Iran’s Baluchestan, was honored with the International Women of Courage Award 2024 at a ceremony held at the White House.

In the event, attended by Jill Biden, the US First Lady, and Antony Blinken, the Secretary of State, former teacher Balouch, now living in the UK, underscored her dedication to representing the courageous women of Baluchistan and Iran, reiterating her mission to shed light on the appalling situation facing women in Iran.

“For these women and so many activists like them around the world, courage is a deliberate and daily choice,” Blinken said during remarks at the ceremony. “Women and girls demonstrate similar bravery in places that are wracked by conflict and insecurity even as they are disproportionately harmed by that violence.”

Earlier on Friday, the State Department spokesperson highlighted Balouch's courage, stating that she "continues to advocate for Iranian women’s rights and to draw attention to the Iranian regime’s gender, ethnicity, and sect-based discrimination."

In a report last year, Human Rights Watch wrote that "Iranian women experience discrimination in law and in practice in ways that deeply impact their lives, particularly with regard to marriage, divorce and custody issues". Since 2022 and the Women, Life, Freedom uprising sparked by the death in morality police custody of Mahsa Amini, arrested for not wearing her hijab properly, women continue to face persecution for non-compliance with Islamic dress codes, leading to arbitrary arrests, exclusion from public places, work and education. 

This year's awards were presented to women from various countries including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Myanmar, Cuba, Ecuador, Gambia, Iran, Japan, Morocco, Nicaragua, and Uganda.

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