[Congressional Record Volume 158, Number 61 (Thursday, April 26, 2012)]
[Pages H2139-H2140]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]


  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The Chair recognizes the gentleman from 
Illinois (Mr. Dold) for 5 minutes.
  Mr. DOLD. Mr. Speaker, in March, the United States recognized 10 
women who were risking their lives to bring about justice in their 
countries. These women were honored in the United States as the 2012 
International Women of Courage and visited Congress to share their 
stories and give a voice to the people of their countries who have 
nowhere else to turn.
  I had the privilege of meeting with each of these women and listening 
to their stories and learning more about their fight to end human 
rights abuses and to make the world a better place. I was impressed 
with their strength, their courage, and want to share some of their 
stories with you here today so that we can continue to speak up for 
those who have no voice.
  Maryam Durani is from Afghanistan. At age 27, she is the director of 
Women's Association for Culture and speaks out for the rights of women 
and girls in Kandahar province. Her life has been threatened numerous 
times, and yet she continues to fight for women in Afghanistan and has 
started the only female-focused radio station in the nation. She 
received the International Women of Courage Award for ``striving to 
give a voice to women through the power of media, government, and civil 
  Pricilla de Oliveira Azevedo is from Brazil. She is 34 and serves as 
the General Coordinator for Strategic Programs for the Rio de Janeiro 
State Secretariat of Public Security. She is one of the most senior 
officers in the Police Pacification Units in her country and has worked 
to end drug-dealing operations in Brazil. She arrested a gang of 
criminals who had once kidnapped her and is working with the state and 
local governments to improve conditions throughout Brazil. She received 
this award for ``integrating previously marginalized populations into 
the larger Rio de Janeiro community.''
  Zin Mar Aung is from Burma. At age 36, she is a democratic activist 
who was a former political prisoner and was held for 11 years because 
of her efforts to promote democracy, women's empowerment, and conflict 
resolution in Burma. She received this award for ``championing 
democracy, strengthening civil society, and empowering individuals to 
contribute meaningfully

[[Page H2140]]

to the political transformation of Burma.''
  Jineth Bedoya Lima is from Colombia and at age 38 is an investigative 
journalist. While on assignment, she was repeatedly raped and left in a 
Dumpster. She was left in this Dumpster by her attackers and told that 
they were sending a message to the Colombian press. Since that horrific 
attack, she has spoken out against sexual violence and has become a 
role model for women in Colombia. She was given this award for ``her 
unfailing courage, determination, and perseverance fighting for 
justice'' all around the globe.
  Hana Elhebshi is a 27-year-old architect from Libya who contributed 
to the proper documentation of the violence during the revolution in 
her country. She also is an advocate for women's rights in her country 
and received this award for ``courageous advancement of the cause of 
freedom of expression and promotion of women's rights during times of 
conflict and transition in Libya.''
  Aneesa Ahmed is from Maldives and founded Hope for Women. She 
advocates for ending gender-based violence in Maldives and has served 
as the Deputy Minister of Women's Affairs. She received this award for 
``courageous advocacy of women's rights and protection from domestic 
  Shad Begum is 33 and is from Pakistan. She is a courageous human 
rights activist. She provides political training, microcredit 
information and more to women in her country. There have been numerous 
attempts to end her life, but she remains committed to advancing 
women's rights and even won a local office in her country. She received 
this award for ``fearlessly championing Pakistani women's political and 
economic rights.''
  Samar Badawi is from Saudi Arabia and at 31 monitors human rights in 
her country. She is the first woman in Saudi Arabia to file a lawsuit 
against the government demanding that women have a right to vote. She 
won this award for ``demonstrating significant courage in her activism 
while becoming a champion in the struggle for women's suffrage and 
legal rights in Saudi Arabia.''
  Hawa Abdallah Mohammed Salih is from Sudan and is a human rights 
activist. Forced to flee Darfur, she lived in an internally displaced 
persons camp and has since spoken out against human rights abuses in 
these very camps and has advocated for women's rights in her country. 
She has been persecuted by the Government of Sudan and forced to flee 
her country. She received this award for ``giving a voice to the women 
and children of Darfur.''
  Safak Pavey is a member of the Parliament in Turkey and is the first 
disabled woman elected to Parliament in her country. She is working to 
empower the disabled, women, and minorities in Turkey. She received 
this award for ``her personal dignity and courage.''
  Mr. Speaker, I want to just simply say that these women act as a role 
model for all women across the country, across the world; and we must 
stand up for women's rights.