12 international women recognised for acts of courage - in pictures

US First Lady Melania Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo attended the ceremony at the State Department in Washington

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A group of women from around the world have been recognised by the US State Department for acts of courage in their countries at a ceremony attended by First Lady Melania Trump.

A dozen women from Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, an autonomous prefecture in China, Malaysia, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Syria, Yemen and Zimbabwe received the 2020 International Women of Courage Award on Wednesday from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

One recipient, Amina Khoulani, was imprisoned in Syria and now helps families of forcibly disappeared Syrians.

Another, Zarifa Ghafari, is the mayor of Maidan Shar, a town in Afghanistan's conservative Wardak province, who has faced death threats and angry male mobs. Other recipients are journalists and human rights advocates.

Mrs Trump noted that Wednesday was her fourth year attending the ceremony. She said she is inspired by the personal stories of each of the women, noting that they often risk their safety to help others.

“These are the faces of true heroism,” she said.

International Women's Day is on Sunday, March 8.