Parveena Ahangar, popularly known as “The Iron Lady of Kashmir” and noted human rights lawyer, Parvez Imroz have won this year’s Rafto Prize award.
A press statement of the Rafto organisation said the Rafto Prize for 2017 is awarded to “human rights defenders” Parveena Ahangar and Parvez Imroz, who have spent decades campaigning for basic human rights in the Indian 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. 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.”
“Parveena Ahangar protests against enforced disappearances and challenges the perpetrators of violence. She is the founder and leader of the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) which arranges peaceful protests and offers practical assistance to victims. Imroz Parvez is a lawyer and a leading intellectual who uses the law to ensure fundamental human rights and equality before the law in Kashmir; he is the founder of the Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS), which works for human rights and alternatives to violence,” the statement further said.
It further added: “The Rafto Prize Laureates thus complement one another in their work, creating opportunities for different communities to participate in the human rights movement via dialogue, peaceful strategies, and protest against human rights violations in the world’s largest democracy.”