Rights lawyer Sirikan wins US award

Rights lawyer Sirikan wins US award

Thai human rights lawyer Sirikan "June" Charoensiri was among 10 women honoured on Friday as recipients of the International Women of Courage awards.

The awards were presented by US First Lady Melania Trump in a ceremony at the State Department.

In the immediate aftermath of the 2014 coup, Ms Sirikan and a dozen colleagues founded Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) to provide pro bono legal services and to document human rights issues under the military government.

"Because of the political sensitivity of the organisation's work, TLHR lawyers and staffers, and Ms Sirikan in particular, have been subjected regularly to harassment, intimidation and criminal charges," the State Department said in a statement.

"As a consequence of her advocacy, June is currently facing three sets of criminal charges for her work as a lawyer, including a charge of sedition -- the first for a lawyer under the military government. Nevertheless, June continues undeterred in her work."

Last year Rodjaraeg Wattanapanit, a Chiang Mai-based activist and co-owner of a bookstore, "Book Re:public", was also honoured for her dedication to democracy and women's rights despite twice being sent to "attitude adjustment" camps.

The Women of Courage Award was initiated in 2007 by US State Department. Since its inception, the award has recognised more than 120 women 65 countries.

Other recipients this year are from Afghanistan, Guatemala, Honduras, Iraq, Italy, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Mauritania and Rwanda.

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