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Layli Miller-MuroEach year, the United Nations Association of the National Capital Area (UNA-NCA) honors local human rights defenders in recognition of Human Rights Day. This year, the reception was held Dec. 12, just days after the passing of the beloved South African President Nelson Mandela.

As UNA-NCA President Donald Bliss addressed guests, he quoted the powerful human rights icon: “There is no passion to be found in playing small — in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.”

“Our human rights awards recipients this evening exemplify the wisdom in Madiba’s statement. Through their passion, hard work and talent, they have made this world a better place,” Bliss said.

Tahirih’s Layli Miller Muro received the association’s 2013 Community Human Rights Award. The award is given to individuals in the D.C. area who have provided outstanding service in promoting and protecting human rights.

Miller-Muro, who founded Tahirih in 1997 after her involvement in a precedent-setting asylum case, was among six individuals honored with awards at the ceremony.

“She is a tireless and innovative advocate [for immigrant women and girls fleeing violence],” said Chair of the UNA-NCA Human Rights Committee Sultana Ali.

Ali said Miller-Muro and Tahirih staff have been a transformative force in the lives of thousands of women and girls.

“I am so honored to receive the distinguished recognition of the United Nations Association of the National Capital Area,” Miller-Muro said. “All over the world, women face pervasive violence and injustice. This award is a testament to the courage of women and girls who refuse to accept violence in their homes and communities and the desperate need for legal advocacy on their behalf.”