Mar 11, 2020

Jalila Haider, the "Iron Lady of Balochistan", has received the US Secretary of State's" International Courage Award in Washington D.C.

On 4 March 2020, Jalila Haider, a human rights lawyer from Pakistan whose affectionate nickname is the “Iron Lady of Balochistan”, received the International Women of Courage Award at the annual awards ceremony at the US State Department in Washington D.C.

Below is an article by India West

The event was hosted by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo with a speech by First Lady Melania Trump in recognition of these women’s fantastic achievements.

Haider is the founder of the non-profit NGO We the Humans – Pakistan, whose aims include “lift[ing] local communities by strengthening opportunities for vulnerable women and children.

Nicknamed “the Iron Lady of Balochistan, “She specializes in defending women’s rights and provides free counseling and legal services to poverty-affected women,” said a statment from the State Department. “The first female attorney of her Hazara community, Haider led a peaceful hunger strike to recognize the right to life for the Hazara following a series of targeted attacks. Ms. Haider has taken up the cause of many other vulnerable communities.”

Haider has battled against violence against women in all areas of life in her role as the President of the Women Democratic Front and the Aurat (Woman’s) March of Balochistan.

In all, 12 women from around the world are awarded the prize, who are selected and approved by senior officials in the State Department. The US diplomatic missions around the world are able to nominate one woman from their host country.

After winning the award, the 12 recipients will participate in an International Visitor Leadership Programme, during which they will have the chance to visit cities across the US before finishing in Los Angeles, California on 16 March.

According the press release, the award, which is now in its 14th year, recognises women who have shown “exceptional courage and leadership in advocating for peace, justice, human rights, gender equality, and women’s empowerment, often at great personal risk and sacrifice”.