Afghan advocate Benafsha Yaqoobi receives International Women of Courage Award


WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of State announced that Benafsha Yaqoobi, a visually impaired advocate from Afghanistan, has been honored with the International Women of Courage (IWOC) Award by Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

Yaqoobi, who lives in exile, has spent years as an attorney defending the rights of women subjected to violence. In 2008, Yaqoobi and her husband founded the Rahyab Organization to support education and rehabilitation for visually impaired individuals in Afghanistan. She also hosted a daily live TV show aimed at raising awareness about disability rights, the State Department noted in a statement.

Previously serving as a Commissioner for the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission, which was dissolved by the Taliban, Yaqoobi has been recognized for her unwavering efforts to advocate for Afghans with disabilities. She has specifically urged the international community to ensure that disability rights are fully integrated into humanitarian responses.

The annual IWOC Awards ceremony, hosted by Secretary Blinken and First Lady Jill Biden, will take place at the White House on Monday. This year’s honorees include Fawzia Karim Firoze from Bangladesh, Volha Harbunova from Belarus, Ajna Jusić from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Myintzu Win from Burma, Martha Beatriz Roque Cabello from Cuba, Fátima Corozo from Ecuador, Fatou Baldeh from The Gambia, Fariba Balouch from Iran, Rina Gonoi from Japan, Rabha El Haymar from Morocco, and Agather Atuhaire from Uganda, as stated by the State Department.