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Ranitha Gnanarajah of Sri Lanka gets woman of courage award from Jill Biden

ECONOMYNEXT – Ranitha Gnanarajah of Sri Lanka has received an award as an ‘international woman of courage’ from US First Lady Jill Biden, recognizing here work for justice, accountability, and women’s rights in Sri Lanka.

The US Secretary of State has se up the International Woman of Courage award in 2017 to “commend women around the globe who demonstrate exceptional bravery and leadership in advocating for peace, human rights, and women’s empowerment.”

“Ms. Gnanarajah has demonstrated a tremendous commitment to justice on behalf of all her fellow citizens,” U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka and Maldives, Alaina B. Teplitz, said in a statement.

“She’s helped her country’s most vulnerable people avail themselves of their rights and in doing so is a model of courage in Sri Lanka and around the world.”

Gnanarajah has provided free legal aid to prisoners detained without charge under Sri Lanka’s Prevention of Terrorism Act and to families seeking to learn the fate of relatives believed to have been victims of enforced disappearances, the US embassy said.

“Her leadership and advocacy for a victim-centered approach has supported dozens of victims’ families throughout the country,” the statement said.

“She has also worked tirelessly to build the capacity of grassroots organizations that confront gender-based violence and advocate for women’s equal rights to land and property.

“For example, Ms. Gnanarajah’s domestic violence research identified deficiencies at police stations that impeded women’s ability to seek protection from abuse and harassment.

“She also leads awareness campaigns that have increased access to women’s shelters, counseling services, and medical care for survivors of domestic violence.”

Over the last 15 years, the U.S. Department of State has recognized more than 155 International Women of Courage from over 75 countries. (Colombo/Mar09/2021)

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