Imroz, Parveena receive the Rafto Prize 2017

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SRINAGAR: The two Kashmiri human rights defenders, Parveena Ahangar and Parvez Imroz on Sunday accepted the Rafto Prize 2017 at The National Stage in Bergen, a spokesman of the Norwegian Foundation said in a statement.

“I will fight till I die”, the Foundation spokesperson quoted Ms Ahangar saying in her acceptance speech.

Parveena Ahangar and Parvez Imroz received the Rafto Prize for their long campaign to expose human rights violations, promote dialogue and seek peaceful solutions to the intractable conflict in Kashmir. The two Kashmiri human rights defenders have inspired new generations across communities, the Foundation said in a statement.

“You have recognized a mother’s grief and pain, and the grief and pain of Kashmiris due to the great injustices that we are facing. More importantly, you are recognizing our immense struggle for accountability and freedom. When I first got news of the award, I thought of my son, Javaid. I wished wherever he was that he would know that I will never give up the fight to see him and our dear ones of APDP. I will fight till I die,” Parveena Ahangar said in her acceptance speech in Bergen.

Her fellow Kashmiri human rights defender, and Rafto Prize laureate Parvez Imroz said in his acceptance speech that the prize gives a glimpse of hope in a hopeless situation.

“The award is an acknowledgement of the struggle of people who are speaking truth to power in a conflict area. It will enhance the visibility of the activists struggling against impunity and injustice (…) It will be an inspiration for the younger generation whose work is ignored by the world outside. The award we hope shall protect the space civil society has created in the conflict area and above all, I am hopeful that it would provide some sort of security to the activists – in an area, where fear has been used as the most successful weapon of war by the government,” Parvez Imroz said in front of a packed theatre in Bergen city.

The Award Ceremony included a speech by the Head Rafto Prize Committee, Lise Rakner and an artistic performance by 9-grader nord, Gemini Crew, Ole Bull Chamber Choir, Balder Hella Mikkelsen, Ganezha and Halie. After the ceremony the Rafto Laureates joined in a torchlight procession for human rights in Bergen city, the Foundation said in the statement.

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