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Cablegate: Bangladesh Nominee for the 2010 Secretary's Award For

VZCZCXYZ0005
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHKA #1086/01 3370944
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 030944Z DEC 09
FM AMEMBASSY DHAKA
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9732

UNCLAS DHAKA 001086

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR S/GWI AMBASSADOR VERVEER AND SGHORI
DEPT FOR SCA/INSB, SCA/RA JMAZZONE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KWMN PREL KPAO PHUM PGOV BG
SUBJECT: BANGLADESH NOMINEE FOR THE 2010 SECRETARY'S AWARD FOR
INTERNATIONAL WOMEN OF COURAGE

REF: A) STATE 111471, B) DHAKA 1057

Summary
-------------

1. For her work in defending the legal and human rights of the
women of Bangladesh, U.S. Mission Dhaka nominates Salma Ali for the
2010 Secretary of State's Award for International Woman of Courage.
Through her legal and humanitarian work, Ali has fiercely championed
the rights of women and children in this Muslim-majority nation of
150 million people. Her strength and dedication have saved,
hundreds, if not thousands, of women and children from the dangers
of trafficking, domestic violence, sexual exploitation and unlawful
imprisonment.

Justification
----------------

2. Salma Ali, a lawyer and human rights activist, has worked
tirelessly on behalf of women and children in Bangladesh for the
last three decades. She has fought for victims of a wide range of
injustices, including trafficking, forced labor, acid attacks,
unlawful imprisonment, and domestic violence. An examination of any
women's rights issue in Bangladesh will reveal contributions by Ali.


3. Ali is Executive Director of the Bangladesh Women Lawyers'
Association (BNWLA) and Chairwoman of the Bangladesh chapter of
Action against Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation of Children
(ATSEC). Under Ali's leadership BNWLA provides a broad range of
services to women and girls. BNWLA operates legal aid clinics and
24-hour hotlines all over Bangladesh for women and girls who are the
victims of violence and abuse. Not content with just rendering
legal assistance, Ali and BNWLA run shelters for victimized women
and children. BNWLA rescues victims of trafficking, sexual
exploitation, forced labor and unlawful imprisonment. Ali has
helped to repatriate a large number of survivors of trafficking from
abroad.

4. Ali and BNWLA work with the Government of Bangladesh to
strengthen the ability of government officials to properly handle
cases involving the violation of women's rights. They have trained
scores of officials, including police, military and local leaders,
on such issues as child marriage, forced marriage, dowry, acid
attacks, domestic violence, labor rights and trafficking.

5. Ali is a vocal leader within Bangladesh 's legal community,
continually challenging the courts to strengthen legal protections
for women and girls. She took on the practice of "safe custody," in
which the courts imprisoned - sometimes for years - girls found in
brothels or on the streets. Given that Bangladesh's penal system
has limited facilities for women, most girls taken into "safe
custody" ended up in the general populations of Bangladesh prisons,
where they frequently were victims of abuse. Ali has secured the
release of scores of girls trapped in legal limbo, in some cases
reuniting them with their families and in others assisting them with
rehabilitation.
6. For all these efforts and more, US Mission Dhaka nominates Salma
Ali of Bangladesh for the 2010 International Women of Courage Award.
Mission Dhaka has contacted Ali, who said she would be honored to
be nominated for this award.
Biographic Details
------------------------

7. Bio data requested ref A follow:

Name: Salma Ali

Job Title/Association: Executive Director, Bangladesh Women
Lawyer's Association (BNWLA)

Date of Birth: February 26, 1949

Country of Birth: then Pakistan (now Bangladesh)

Citizenship: Bangladesh

Address: BNWLA, Monico-Mina Tower, 49/3 West Agargaon,
Sher-e-Bangla Nagar, Dhaka 1207, Bangladesh
Telephone: +8802-811-2858

Fax: +8802-812-5866

Email: bnwla@bdonline.com

om

Passport No.: Forthcoming

Languages spoken: Bangla, English


Mission Women's Issues Officer
------------------------------

8. For more information about this nomination, please contact
Deputy Pol/Econ Chief Heather Variava at VariavaHC@state.gov.


DEAN

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