Human rights lawyer awarded 2018 International Women of Courage award

A co-founder of Thai Human Rights for Lawyers (TLHR) has received an International Women of Courage award by the US government for her efforts to provide legal assistance for those prosecuted by the ruling junta. 
 
On 21 March 2018, the US Department of State announced that Sirikan ‘June’ Charoensiri, a TLHR lawyer, was among the 10 awardees of this year’s International Women of Courage (IWC). 
 
The US states that Sirikan was a co-founder of TLHR which has provided “pro-bono legal services in human rights cases and has documented human rights issues under the military government,” adding other TLHR lawyers and staff have also been subjected to harassment and intimidation by the junta.
 
“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,” read the statement by the Department of the State.
 
Sirikan is the second Thai to receive the IWC award. The first was Rodjaraeg Wattana, who co-founded the non-profit organization Creating Awareness for Enhanced Democracy in Chiang Mai.
 
Apart from Sirikan, the other 2018 awardees include a women’s rights activist from Rwanda, an Afghan feminist filmmaker, an advocate for the families of the forcibly disappeared during Guatemala’s civil war and a pro-human rights columnist from Kazakhstan. 
 
 
Sirikan is accused of sedition and violating a junta order for refusing to allow the authorities to search her car (Photo from Matichon)