Muskan Khatun to receive the US State Department’s International Women of Courage Award

The US has named Muskan Khatun, the acid attack survivor, the recipient of the US State Department’s International Women of Courage Award this year.

US Ambassador to Nepal Randy Berry tweeted that Khatun is being awarded for her work to end acid attacks. She will be the first Nepali to win the prestigious award. 

US Ambassador Berry in a tweet posted that Khatun will be the youngest recipient ever of this Award.

US First Lady Dr Jill Biden and Secretary of  State Tony Blinken will be presenting the award to her at a special virtual ceremony to be held on March 8.

Acid attack survivor Muskan Khatun had endured months of harassment from her perpetrators before she was attacked with acid in September 2019. 

Khatun was on her way to her school when three local youths splashed acid on her at Ganeshman Chowk in Birgunj.  

Muskan was at the age of 15 when she became the victim of an acid attack.  She suffered severe burns on her face, chest, and hands. Her recovery was painful and continues to this day.

“Despite this, Muskan turned a tragedy into an opportunity to bring about change in Nepal. Facing threats and social pressure, Muskan lobbied for stronger laws and punishments for acid attacks. She met with Prime Minister K.P. Oli who called for a new law to be drafted for acid attacks, and issued an ordinance punishing perpetrators and regulating the sale of chemicals,” wrote the US Embassy in Kathmandu said on its official social media site.

Now in its 15th year, the IWOC Award recognizes women around the globe who have demonstrated exceptional courage and leadership in advocating for peace, justice, human rights, gender equality, and women’s empowerment, often at great personal risk and sacrifice, according to the US Embassy in Kathmandu.  Previous winners include Malala Yousafzai, the youngest Nobel laureate, for her advocacy work for women and girls in Pakistan.