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Deputy Secretary of State William J. Burns Presents Human Rights Defender Award to the Hammurabi Human Rights Organization

July 1, 2013

Deputy Secretary of State William J. Burns presented the Iraqi NGO Hammurabi Human Rights Organization with the 2012 Human Rights Defenders Award on June 29 in Baghdad. The award recognized Hammurabi’s fearless advocacy for human rights, concrete achievements in protecting female detainees, and critical work on curriculum reform to promote religious freedom. In presenting the award, Deputy Secretary Burns noted “What makes Hammurabi truly remarkable is that it not only raises awareness about human rights problems -- it also proposes solutions. It understands that to change policies and achieve lasting reform requires working with the government and not just in opposition to it.”

Willam Warda and Pascal Warda accepted the award on behalf of Hammurabi. They were joined by 13 of Hammurabi’s volunteer officers and directors, who travelled from throughout Iraq to attend the ceremony.

The Human Rights Defenders Award is given annually to individuals or non-governmental organizations that have shown exceptional valor and leadership in advocating for the protection of human rights and democracy. For 2012, the Department of State named Syrian human rights activist Hanadi Zahlout as a co-winner with the Hammurabi Organization.