Two Kashmiri activists awarded ‘Rafto Prize’ for human rights
BERGEN (Norway) – Two activists from Indian-held Kashmir awarded Norway’s Rafto Prize for human rights on Saturday for their long-term struggle against violence in the disputed territory, the jury announced.
Parveena Ahangar, nicknamed “The Iron Lady of Kashmir”, founded and leads the Association of Parents of Missing Persons after her 17-year-old son was kidnapped by security forces in 1990. She hasn’t heard anything from or of him since.
Her co-laureate, lawyer Imroz Parvez, founded the Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS) which promotes human rights and non-violence. It has documented the authorities’ use of torture in the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
“Parveena Ahangar and Imroz Parvez have long been at the forefront of the struggle against arbitrary abuses of power in a region of India that has borne the brunt of escalating violence, militarisation and international tension,” the Rafto Foundation said in a statement late September.
“Their long campaign to expose human rights violations, promote dialogue and seek peaceful solutions to the intractable conflict in Kashmir has inspired new generations across communities,” it added.
The prize of $20,000 (17,750 euros) was distributed between the co-laureates on Saturday in the western Norwegian town of Bergen.