On the occasion of International Women`s Day, United States Ambassador Robert Blake has recognized lawyer, activist, author and the Sunday Times columnist Kishali Pinto-Jayawardena for the Secretary of State`s 2007 International Women of Courage Award.
In a statement the embassy said its nominee, Ms Pinto-Jayawardena had been an unstinting advocate for the rule of law, the independence of the Sri Lankan judiciary and key constitutional bodies such as the National Human Rights Commission and the National Police Commission.
In addition to appearing before the UN Human Rights Committee and national courts, Ms. Pinto-Jayawardena has publicly called on the government to uphold the requirement to have the Constitutional Council appoint members of national commissions. She has been involved in cases involving the right to freedom of movement, freedom from arbitrary arrest, freedom of speech and equality of persons and has written extensively in newspapers, journals, and books about human rights, media freedom, and the role of women.
`Ms. Pinto-Jayawardena has served as a trailblazer for women in the field of media and the law, leaving an indelible mark in the area of legal advocacy` Ambassador Blake said. `She has raised the profile of human rights protection not only in Sri Lanka, but also in international law,` he added.
The annual Award for International Women of Courage in honor of International Women`s Day 2007 has been established by US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice to recognize women around the globe who have shown exceptional courage and leadership in their work. This is the only Department of State award that pays tribute to emerging women leaders worldwide.