Only Kashmir | Bilal Bashir Bhat | 04 Nov 2017
Two prominent Kashmiri Human Rights defenders Parveena Ahangar and Parvez Imroz Saturday jointly received the received prestigious Rafto Prize during the Rafto Conference 2017 titled “Voices of Kashmir – Defending Civilians in a Heavily Militarized Zone” held at the University Aula Oslo, Norway. The prize of Rs 1,307,200 INR was formally presented to duo for their long campaign to expose human rights violations.
Speaking on the occasion, Parvaiz Imroz said in this era of globalization, the responsibility to protect human rights should be a global responsibility, adding, the only hope is the support of the global civil society.
In her keynote address on the occasion, Parveena Ahanger said there is a lot of work to do. I have been fighting for 27 years. Fight with me in whatever way you can, adding, enforced disappearance means that our loved ones are victims and so are we, their families.
Besides Imroz and Ahanger the others who spoke on the occasion including, Jostein Hole Kobbeltvedt – Executive Director, Rafto Foundation for Human Rights, Mona Bhan – Associate Professor of Anthropology at DePauw University, Indiana, Emma Brännlund – Senior Lecturer in International Relations at the Department of Health and Social Sciences, UWE, Bristol, Haley Duschinski – Associate Professor of Anthropology and Director of the Center for Law, Justice & Culture at Ohio University and Goldie Osuri– Associate Professor at the Department of Sociology, University of Warwick. The proceedings of the conference were moderated by Eirik Bergesen.
The prize of Rs 1,307,200 INR (17,750 euros) was distributed among Parveena Ahangar and Imroz Parvez and was formally presented on the occasion.
Parveena Ahanger, 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.
Meanwhile Hurriyat (M) Chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq while congratulating the duo tweeted, “Congratulations! to Parveena ji & Parvez sb on receiving the prestigious Rafto Award for their immense contribution to HR work in #Kashmir.”
Pertinently, the Rafto Human Rights Prize is awarded annually in the memory of Professor Thorolf Rafto since 1987, to individuals or organizations that have distinguished themselves in their work for human rights and democracy. Four past winners of the prize Aung San Suu Kyi, Jose Ramos-Horta, Kim Dae-Jung and Shirin Ebadi went on to win to Nobel Peace Prize. (OK)