Two leading Kashmiris to get Norway’s RAFTO award

Syed Sibtain Shah
Human rights activist Parveena Ahangar (right) and lawyer Imroz Parvez (left). Photo: Correspondent 

OSLO: RAFTO Foundation of Norway has announced that it would confer its annual award on two leading human rights figures from Indian occupied Kashmir (IoK).

According to a statement of the foundation, Perveena Ahangar and Imroz Parvez will get this award due to their long struggle for human rights in Jammu and Kashmir.

"By conferring the RAFTO award to the human right activists Parveena Ahangar and Imroz Parvez, we urge Indian authorities to facilitate non-violent human rights work in the state," said the leader of the RAFTO prize committee, Lise Rakner.

Ahangar is the founder and leader of the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP), which organises peaceful protests and provides practical assistance to survivors of violence. She started her struggle to raise her voice for the protection of the civilian population after her 17-year-old son was abducted by Indian security forces in 1991.

Forced abductions and violence against men, women, and youth are rampant in IoK. A large number of people have been killed and thousands have disappeared so far.

Thousands of women are waiting for their children, husbands and brothers, who are missing or abducted by the security forces in recent decades.

"We urge the world community to insist that India follow its democratic constitution, rule of law, and respect human rights in Kashmir. India has not signed the UN Convention against Torture and Inhuman Treatment,” said Rakner.

Parvez is a lawyer and a leading intellectual voice, who uses legal means to ensure citizens of IoK are provided with basic human rights. He is the founding president of the Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society working for human rights and non-violent solutions.

The RAFTO award will be awarded on Sunday, November 5, 2017, in Bergen.

A Europe based researcher from IoK, Roushan Akbar, termed the award for the Kashmiri figures as a great achievement for the struggle to create awareness about Kashmir in the international community.

“This is really a great prize for Kashmiris struggling for the rights of the oppressed people in IoK,” Oslo-based leading Norwegian journalist of Pakistani origin Kadafi Zaman said.