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This article was originally published on December 06, 2013.

The United Nations Association of the National Capital Area honors Layli Miller-Muro for ‘outstanding service’

Layli Miller-MuroThe founder and executive director of Tahirih has been selected to receive a 2013 Community Human Rights Award from the United Nations Association of the National Capital Area (UNA-NCA).

Layli Miller-Muro, who founded Tahirih in 1997, will be honored as part of UNA-NCA’s annual Human Rights Awards Reception. The UNA-NCA human rights award is given to individuals in the D.C. area who have provided outstanding service in promoting and protecting human rights.

Miller-Muro is a long-serving leader in the movement to end the epidemic of violence against women and girls. As a law student, she represented Fauziya Kassindja, a teenage girl who fled Togo in fear of a forced marriage and female genital mutilation. Miller-Muro brought Kassindja’s case to American University’s Human Rights Law Clinic, where it climbed to the highest immigration court in the nation and ultimately set legal precedent. Kassindja was granted asylum in 1996 after spending 17 months in detention in the United States. The landmark case opened the door for women to receive asylum on the grounds of gender-based persecution. It also changed the trajectory of Miller-Muro’s life and career.

“That very formative experience opened my eyes to the many issues that women face all over the world — pervasive violence and injustice and the desperate need for legal advocacy on their behalf,” Miller-Muro recalled.

Miller-Muro went on to open the Tahirih Justice Center with her share of proceeds from a book that she co-authored with Kassindja, “Do They Hear You When You Cry.”

The UN-NCA described its Community Human Rights Award recipients as individuals who are “at the forefront of human rights efforts.” The Human Rights Awards Reception will be held from 6-8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 12 in the Caucus Room of the Cannon House Building on Capitol Hill. Tickets can be purchased online.